Ashley Inguanta: R.kv.r.y. quarterly explores recovery: The act of recovery, recovering or restoring. What is recovered when we write poetry?
Sheila Squillante: I’m drawn to that word “restore.” For me, poetry–in particular, collaborative poetry like our piece–restores for me the sense that I am connecting with people. Readers, other artists. It’s harder and harder to feel that as I get older and busier, as my life whittles down to the small, necessary circle of just my family. But I need it and am grateful whenever I find it.
AI: In our poem “There Is No Such Thing As Spring,” we navigate the recovery of body, metal and flower. Tell me more about what this recovery of body means to you.
SS: At 44, I have yet to recover my own from a childhood and young adulthood of alienation. I am working hard, now, to ensure my daughter feels healthy and happy in her own. I would like her to be able to celebrate it.
AI: Grounding is so important in the process of recovery. How do you find grounding?
SS: Cooking centers me like almost nothing else. Following a recipe is calming–I can let go of worry and trust the form of it to produce something. It almost doesn’t matter *what* it produces. I had this experience just a few nights ago, after hearing news of a terrible personal tragedy in a friend’s life. After my kids went to bed, I baked gingerbread muffins from a recipe I’ve never followed before. Ultimately the muffins failed–they were too sour with molasses and not spicy enough for my taste–but on the other hand, the fact of them, their existence felt like a manifestation of something like balance.
AI: Right now we are approaching the transition from autumn to winter. What is recovered when autumn changes to winter?
SS: Quiet. Deep reflection. Generosity. Self-protection.
AI: And since there is no such thing as spring, what do we find in its place?
SS: Resilience and release.