Contributor Spotlight: Tisha Nemeth-Loomis

TishaNemethLoomisWhat would you like to share with our readers about the work you contributed to the Bellingham Review?

The poems “Faith’s Other Shapes” and “Her Risk” explore reinvention, and the impossibility of emotional, physical, and relational wholeness in a culture that values fragmentation and isolation.

Tell us about your writing life.

Writing is my way of being in the world. I am entirely at ease and fully “dialed in” when I am writing. Forming ideas and arranging them on the page is how I make sense of my surroundings and myself. Because of that, I continue to write—it’s never about the outcome as much as it is about the process, and the discoveries I have about myself while I am composing.

What writing advice has stayed with you?

Write toward your strengths; write what you know about and then delve into its sharp, difficult edges. There are always epiphanies there which enable you to explore incongruent layers of the self. Last advice: write toward topics that are unfamiliar yet oddly resonant. Fresh writing material will always surface where you least expect it.

Which non-writing aspect(s) of your life most influences your writing?

Intersections of urban landscapes, female experience, embodiment, and the curious ways humans seek permanence.

What is your favorite book (or essay, poem, short story)? Favorite writer(s)?

I need to have a roster of constantly changing authors, topics, and poems because reading is how I nourish myself. For me, the books Midnight Salvage and The Fact of a Door Frame by Adrienne Rich are important because her writing reveals so much about personal fragmentation, and I value her fearlessness. Also, I’m a Chicagoan who is fond of local poets Chris Green and David Trinidad; I’m in the process of collecting all their books. Other favorite authors include Kate Zambreno and Danielle Pafunda. Poems by William Bronk always feel gently urgent to me and invite complex reflection, which I enjoy. In conclusion, selecting “favorite” poems is an impossible effort because I have so many. Yet, I do have beloved lines of poetry that are my signature favorites, from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and simple, luxurious lines by Pablo Neruda and Rainer Maria Rilke.

What are you reading now?

Nonfiction texts are in my hands when I’m not reading poetry. I’ve a penchant for feminist philosophy, which helps me navigate the world and myself. Also I get entangled in quite a bit of literary theory, because I’m always investigating my relationship with literature and language, and its limitlessness and limitations. I enjoyed reading Differentials: Poetry, Poetics, and Pedagogy by Marjorie Perloff and recently I re-read Literature Against Itself by Gerald Graff. Other topics I love to explore are psychology books and pop culture, which find their way onto my book shelf. When it comes to reading my tastes vary; I’m an omnivore! 

What project(s) are you working on now, or next?

I have two finished poetry manuscripts—The Raw Fields of Thought and Mechanisms of Desire—the hunt is on for a quality, local or feminist publisher. Both follow or “answer” my first published book of poems, Terrain of My Affection. Right now I am working on a project I began in 2012: my memoir, tentatively titled Pleasure Principle. The manuscript captures the events of a young, urban female pursuing sexuality, identity and the writer’s life during a cancer diagnosis in the middle of a promising career. In the book I grapple with what it means to be a cancer fighter, re-imagining a future that is vibrantly raw, beautiful and imperfect—and perhaps better than life as it was before the diagnosis.

Where can our readers connect with you online?

Readers can find me at tishanemethloomis.com.

Anything else our readers might want to know about you?

I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, yet I am more proud of the fact that I ran my first 5K recently. On other fronts, I feel a grounded satisfaction and particular joy in mentoring students who are entering the teaching profession. As an author and educator, it’s easier to write and discuss reasons why expression is meaningful, but transferring that passion to others in a way that changes their lives and career trajectory is a feeling unlike any other. It fuels my amazement.


TISHA NEMETH-LOOMIS is the author of Terrain of My Affection, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry can be found in Adanna Literary Journal, Fringe Magazine, Columbia Poetry Review, Pacific Review and various publications online and in print. Tisha’s non-fiction appears nationally in More Magazine, and her literary critiques are published by Indiana University Northwest’s journal Plath Profiles. Tisha earned her MFA from Columbia College Chicago, where she served as adjunct faculty and assistant poetry editor. She teaches literature at Morton College and lives in Chicago. Her website is tishanemethloomis.com.

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