It’s a bit late for new news, but we wanted to acknowledge our excellent publishing intern, poet Phoebe Farrell-Sherman! She spent part of last summer remotely working with us, organizing marketing lists in Airtable, coming up with some ideas for our next project, The City of Dreadful Night, and conducting some interviews with amazing local women working in the book industry that we’ll start sharing soon!
Phoebe is a student of philosophy and poetry at Smith College in Northampton, MA. After winning the Choral Arts “Finding Your Voice” poetry award, she had the honor of having one of her poems set to music by composer John David Earnest. She has also been published in Resistance Writing, and in 2017, she was selected to be part of the Hugo House Young Writers Cohort. Along with her love of reading and writing poetry, Phoebe is interested in political writing, public-facing philosophy, and medical ethics.
ERB: What’s your favorite poetry book?
PFS: It is really hard to choose a favorite book of poetry, but I think maybe a collection I have of Walt Whitman, “Whitman, selected by Robert Creeley” (it’s the only Whitman book I have– I don’t have a regular copy of Leaves of Grass). The poems are so thoughtful and joyful, and they feel so direct to me even though they were written in 1850-60. There is one poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” where he says “I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born… Who knows, for all the distance, but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?” and it is amazing, and believable somehow, to think of Whitman thinking about me in 1850!
ERB: What are you reading now?
Right now I am reading a collection of essays by George Yancy, “Across Black Spaces,” that discuss race in America, doing philosophy while Black, and the tradition of Black philosophy in America. I saw Yancy speak at Smith two years ago, and I think in both his writing and his style of speaking he is a really amazing example of what public-facing philosophy can do.
ERB: Could explain a little how your major in Philosophy and this focus on poetry came to be? Why did you pick this in school? What are your hopes with a degree like this?
I chose a philosophy major because it lets me approach things in other fields, like medicine, for example, but from a totally different angle, which is often an opportunity to consider how they could be more human and more just. My poetry concentration is essentially a minor that goes with that, and lets me do what I love– reading and writing poems– and be creative, as well as academic. I’m still figuring out what will come after graduation for me, but I definitely want to keep writing and reading both poetry and philosophy, possibly apply for a poetry MFA, and then pursue a career in publishing, medical ethics, or something else in between.
Thanks so much to Phoebe for spending a strange remote summer with the press and a shout out to the Praxis Program at Smith College which funds internships for students working with art and literature groups like ours as we would have never been able to come up with the money to pay for her help!