The Writing University conducts is a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the International Writing Program's fall residency. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.
Today we are talking with Jacqueline GOLDBERG, a poet, fiction writer, essayist and journalist from Venezuela.
1. Hello Jacqueline! Do you have a plan or project in mind for your time at the residency?
In my mind and in my computer there are always several opened projects and I hope to deepen in some of them in Iowa, especially in a novel and in a poetry book. While I’m in Iowa I aspire firstly to stop the rush of my anguish, to look, to breathe, to walk, and to reflect on what I am doing in my writing.
2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?
Journalism has taught me to write stealing time from the time. My country’s difficulties have accentuated this practice. That's why my routines variate. But I always read a little before I write and reread what I have already written. And I need to drink a lot of water to write.
3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?
I am always reading for pleasure and research. It’s the same to me. I believe in research even to write a poem. At this moment, maybe because I come from a lot of hard work and many daily difficulties, I am reading several books at the same time: The Old Patagonian Express (Paul Theroux); Night Picnic (Charles Simic); The savage (Guillermo Arriaga). And I'm investigating about Antigone, watching movies and reading books about that mythical character. The list is even longer.
4. What is something the readers and writers of Iowa City should know about you and/or your work?
That I am restless. That I am interested in art as integrality. That I write poetry, narrative, essay, about gastronomy and life stories. That I would like to write theater and movie scripts. That I am very interested in visual arts and music. That for me it is very important to talk about literature. That I go to Iowa with my heart and mind open to big and small experiences.
5. Tell us a bit about where you are from -- what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?
I was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second city. Since 1991, I've lived in Caracas. Today it is not easy to talk about my country. All its natural beauties and its history are dissolved into a terrible political, social and economic crisis. It is not easy to breathe positive things. Of course I can talk about the essentials that remain. It is the land of many great writers, painters and musicians who continue to create. I have worked for many years on gastronomic issues and I find in food an impressive wealth, which speaks of our memory and our people. Perhaps the distance will allow me to see more clearly the good, to put aside the bad and get the desired balance.
Thank you Jacqueline!
Jacqueline GOLDBERG (poet, fiction writer, essayist, journalist; Venezuela) is the author of six books of prose, 10 children’s books, and 20 volumes of poetry. Her novel Las horas claras [The Clear Hours] received the 2012 prize of Fundación para la Cultura Urbana, was the Venezuelan Booksellers’ Book of the Year, a finalist for the Critic’s Award Novel for 2013, and was re-published in Mexico in 2018. Goldberg frequently speaks at literature and at food festivals. Her participation is made possible by the US Embassy in Caracas.