Jeff Mann Talks About Writing Essays Part I

We sat down with Jeff and talked a little about his essays.  Check out Part I of the interview below:

Interviewer: What role does the essay play for you as a writer?

Jeff:  For me, poems are about emotion and imagery, and fiction is about setting, plot, and characterization. Essays—any sort of creative nonfiction—are about thought, reflection, remembrance. They’re a partly emotional, partly intellectual means of making sense of things.

Interviewer:  What inspires you to write an essay?

Jeff:  I think about writing a personal essay when I’m drawn to subject matter simultaneously semi-personal and semi-public that I want to work out, a topic that I have strong feelings about but one that is larger and wider than my personal experience.

Interviewer:  What essay of yours did you most enjoy writing? Why?

Jeff:  Damned good question. I need to browse what I’ve published. Hmmm. Maybe “‘Till the Ductile Anchor Hold’: An Appreciation of Appalachian Folk Culture” in my second essay collection, Binding the God: Ursine Essays from the Mountain South. It was fun to situate my life experience and memories in the larger context of my native region’s folklife: the dialect, the superstitions, the festivals, the food.




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