Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Maggie Rue Hess from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “At the adult beginner online Spanish night class” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Maggie: Reading the phenomenal work of other writers – particularly other poets – lights a fire for me. Most recently I read Morgan Parker’s Magical Negro, and even though I can’t write what or how she writes, just absorbing her words stirred me into an active, creative mode. Also, forcing myself into action – creativity rarely strikes me out of the blue, but is rather produced from curated focus and effort.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/  idols/ friends that you look up to?

Maggie: I have an inspiring group of friends in my graduate program, and I was lucky enough to be in a workshop with them a year ago. That space actually enabled me to write the poem the Tiny Spoon published, which just speaks to the value of community when it comes to writing. My all-time idols are Mary Oliver and Toni Morrison, whose writing never fails to move me.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Maggie: Rain and sunshine, in their turns. I’m basically a houseplant.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Maggie: One key to my process is my Germ Pile. I think most people, writers or not, keep a note on their phone with interesting sentences, phrases, or moments – mine is called my Germ Pile, a name borrowed form my undergraduate advisor. Every scrap of thought and writing has potential, so I document the ones that interest me in the Germ Pile, which I return to when I sit down to write. Additionally, I keep a notebook dedicated to drafting poems in the living room next to a cup full of pens and markers. I want to have anything I need within reach.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Maggie: My current/on-going project is pulling together a chapbook!

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

In compiling this list, I think that I have to theme it “Main Character Energy” –

Book: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

Artwork: anything by Kallen Mikel (check out her work on IG @_kallenmikel )

Music: “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Caroline Polachek

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Maggie: Funny enough, last year I took a Spanish class. This year I’m taking a German course. At some point I’ll figure out how not to be monolingual.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Maggie: Instagram is my favorite of the apps: @maggieruehess

I have also participated in Lexington Poetry Month for a few years, and you can read more of my poems from that project here.