Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form? The poem I would love to share is the title poem for the chapbook. The poem is entitled “The New Science of Slippery Surfaces,” and it was published in Poetry Northwest. Here is a link to it online
Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail. I was at home, in my study. It was right before we revamped the interior. For years, my study had been home to my mother’s Steinway B baby grand piano. I don’t play piano but I was a professional flutist in my first life, and so I used it for understanding harmonies, other people accompanied me sometimes, or we jammed.
But after we re-immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands, and I was working full time at the university as a scientist and writing poetry in earnest, I finally put down the flute, the demanding task mistress that she is. And then I finally let go of the piano—and along with her, my mother. But when I wrote this poem I was at my big white desk overlooking my mother’s big black piano, windows looking out over our green back yard in Southern California.
Oil will slide through pipelines,
glue will flow, bacteria will be unable
Through my one summer
as an incompetent waitress
ketchup out of bottles, then
use a knife. Here in the coffee shop,
a student at the next table wrestle
with the Sriracha. And you,
your wedding ring, sit down
across from me. I try not to want
we try to get things out
that seem to want to stay in,
Donna Spruijt-Metz is a poet, translator, and Professor of Psychology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California, where she directs the USC mHealth Collaboratory. Her first career was as a professional flutist. She received two MFAs in Flute, one from California Institute of the Arts, and the other from the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, The Netherlands.
After her family re-
immigrated to the United States, she received an MFA in Creative Writing from Otis College of Art and Design. She started Rabbinical School, but finally abandoned it for poetry.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as Vinyl, The Rumpus, Occulum, Naugatuck River Review, Juked and Poetry Northwest. Her chapbook, Slippery Surfaces, is from Finishing Line Press in March, 2019.