Artist Spotlight: Emma Hecht

Emma Hecht has changed her major four times, starting with accounting then nursing then computer science. Her fourth and change of major as she enters the spring semester of her senior year finally satisfied her academic needs. Hecht is currently a double major with creative writing and humanities with a minor in computer science. She works as the contemporary music director for the chapel and, when she can, writes poetry. 

Her exposure to writing poetry is also fairly recent. “I [started writing] in my Intro to Creative Writing class. I never really written or read poetry before. That would have been spring of my junior year.” 

When asked what drew her to poetry, Hecht said, “I don’t know, I feel like it’s the genre I would least expect myself to write it. I don’t like talking about my feelings and I don’t like being serious about things--which are the two bigs things in poetry. But I think it was the use of language that drew me to that. I love words and trying to figure out how they can be used.” 

Before she entered her senior capstone, Hecht had only written about five poems. For those poems, she picked words that were categories for things I wanted to write about

“For that, I just picked a couple words that were categories for things I wanted to write about. One of those was ‘handiwork’ which was the section I focused on most,” Hecht said. “So I brainstormed jobs that you could do with your hands and different ways people even think about handiwork. Then, when I had that topic, I focused in on an image.

Hecht reflects that she feels as if she writes in-scene, which she admits may be weird for poetry. 

 “Sometimes I have a word in my head and I think ‘I have to write a poem about that.’ And it doesn’t even have to be obvious; I could have ‘dishwasher’ and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a poem about a dishwasher, but have a dishwasher in it. I think that’s why I love writing.”

When asked about how she knows when she’s done with a piece, Hecht said, “I don’t think I’ve ever finished anything in my life. I feel like nothing’s ever finished. Even the stuff I turned in for my capstone, I feel like they’re never really done.” 

“After I’ve stared at [a poem] for a few days and I can’t think of anything else and it’s been like, the fifth time I’ve stared at it for a few days, then I know when that can be it.”

As for her advice to other poets, she said, “Don’t feel pressured to be reading poetry all the time because I don’t; I think you should read what you enjoy. If that happens to be poetry, that’s great. Read in the genre in you’re going to write in but don’t feel pressured to only read poetry. You can learn a lot from prose--that’s what I’ve read my whole life and it’s been a huge influence on me.”

Her favorite poet is Valpo’s own Chelsea Wagenaar of the English department. “My friends tease me for how much I look up to her, it’s really funny. But I think we all do, she’s such a big influence on all of us and I love her,” Hecht said. “She’s probably one of my biggest influences because I had her for my Intro class. But I also enjoy Sandra Beasley, who we also read in that class, and I just recently read a collection by Matt Rasmussen.”

As for her future plans with poetry, she doesn’t think she will write poetry full time, but would like to still keep writing on the side, possibly publishing a full collection one day. 

“But after reading other people’s collection, it’s like a million poems and I don’t think I can ever write that many,” Hecht said. “I’ve always been very STEM-focused… I’ve always struggled to see myself as a writer or as an author.” 

While she doesn’t have a website for her poetry, Hecht did add that her guilty pleasure is eating Betty Crocker frosting straight out of the jar with a spoon, except, she usually she doesn’t feel guilty.

 

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