Contributor Spotlight: Kristina Bicher

1434587890609Kristina Bicher’s poem, “House by the Road is featured in Issue 73 of the Bellingham Review.

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

Even now, I can so easily recall my bedroom at night as a child: the palpable texture of the dark, the changing shapes of shadows and the passing lights that felt  supernatural. And even if a sister slept nearby, you were always alone in your fear. Fear being so powerful and yet so amorphous that we need to turn it into form in order to confront it. I think a lot about how parents try and fail or don’t try to teach us what to do with fear or oddly seem to want to acquaint us with fear. “House by the Road” is certainly concerned with that. But also how as a child, feeling unsafe can contain an element of thrill; you can almost delight in how small you are, how easily overcome, swallowed up even by the dark wave that can destroy you but will also spit you out and then who will you be?

Tell us about your writing life.

I’ve always been writing in one form or another. Writing or reading. It’s how I process being human. Or how I remember that I’m human. We write ourselves into existence, someone said. Poems are either looking for God or looking for love, though I suppose those two things are really one and the same. I want to know what this shell is that I live in and who is thinking these thoughts and how am I connected to these dead and living things around me. And why do certain things hurt. That interests me the most.

Which non-writing aspect of your life most influences your writing?

I just try to always stay as open as I can. Open to a tree or a sculpture or a person’s humble gesture. I try to learn from every single thing.

What writing advice has stayed with you?

Just keep groping in the dark—don’t stop. A lot of writing advice is a sort of shaming: you must do it 6 hours a day or wake at 5 a.m. and write. If you can’t live without writing, then you’re not a true writer—that sort of BS. I say love yourself first. Do what you can. Do what you fear. Just keep going.

What is your favorite book or essay or poem?

In no particular order, Virginia Woolf, Rilke, Dickinson, Lowell, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. I’ll stop there!

What are you reading right now?

Everything by Herta Muller. Plus Infinite Jest has been staring at me for so long I’m embarrassed.

What project are you working on now?

I have a completed manuscript I’m sending around and a whole mess of poems on scraps of paper and in emails and on my phone that I need to rein in and do some talking to. I’m very interested in issues around mental illness and a lot of my newer work focuses on that. I’m always hoping to write a happy love poem and maybe one day I will.

Anything else our readers might want to know about you?

Way back when, I was a stock analyst and I loved it and have a convoluted theory about its similarity to writing poems.

Where can our readers connect with you online?

My website: or on Twitter @KristinaABicher

KRISTINA BICHER’s poems have appeared or will appear in Painted Bride Quarterly, Narrative and Barrow Street among others, and her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeared in The Atlantic and The Rumpus.  Her chapbook, Just Now Alive (Finishing Line Press, 2014) was a finalist in the New Women’s Voices Series. She received a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.