Behind the Masthead: Ben Westlie, Contributing Editor


Ben Westlie is one of SRR’s contributing editors. I caught up with Ben to get an update about what he's been reading and writing since the release of SRR's inaugural issue.

Crystal Gibbins: What is one of your favorite pieces from SRR? Why?

Ben Westlie: Linda McKay's poems; she just floored me with her keen sense of place and precise imagery. Wow!

CG: What things do you like to see show up in the submission queue?

BW: I like to see a sense of approach and intention. I feel the most successful work is the direction it's heading, or the place it's attempting to get to in result to make the reader feel.

CG: Who are some of your favorite writers?

BW: They're so many! Mark Doty, Sharon Olds, Nance Van Winckle, Alice Munro, Aleda Shirley, Julia Kasdorf, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Anne Sexton, Rane Arroyo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Karr, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, William Stafford, Robin Behn, Carrie Fountain, Jane Kenyon, Mary Ruefle, Marie Howe, David St. John, Richard McCann, Linda Pastan, and Tracy K. Smith. 

CG: What are you currently reading and writing?

BWStags Leap by Sharon Olds, and a dozen memoirs. I truly believe memoir and fiction influence poetry a great deal. 

Currently, I'm working on a third chapbook of poems on the subjects of travel, death, placement, and fear. 

CG: Where can we find and read your work?


BW: I have two chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press: Sometimes Out of Turn and Extraordinary Construction