Ep. 198: Joshua Bennett on Making Sure There’s Blood in Your Writing

Poet, performer, and scholar Joshua Bennett is the author of the just released book of poetry, Owed, which speaks to the expansive range of registers within the world of Black aesthetics and experience: the joy, rage, love, terror, and awe that gives a world within a world all its shape and tenor.

He received his PhD in English from Princeton University, and is currently Mellon Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. His writing has been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. His book Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man was published by Harvard University Press in May 2020. His first work of narrative nonfiction, Spoken Word: A Cultural History, is forthcoming from Knopf. He lives in Boston. 

How Do You Write Podcast: Explore the processes of working writers with bestselling author Rachael Herron. Want tips on how to write the book you long to finish? Here you’ll gain insight from other writers on how to get in the chair, tricks to stay in it, and inspiration to get your own words flowing. 

Join Rachael’s Slack channel, Onward Writers.


Rachael Herron: [00:00:00] Welcome to “How do you Write?” I’m your host, Rachael Herron. On this podcast, I talk to authors about how they write, what their process is and how their lives fit together. I’ll keep each episode short so you can get back to writing.

[00:00:15] Well, Hello writers! Welcome to episode #198 of “How do you Write?” I’m Rachael Herron. I am thrilled that you are here with me today. Today, I am talking to the marvelous Joshua Bennett, who is a poet as well as many other kinds of writing that he does, he’s just an incredible person. I was really honored to get an early look at his new book Owed, and I can just guarantee you that you’re going to love the conversation. So stay tuned for that. This’ll be a quick recap because I’ve had some coffee. I feel kind of weird today going in a bunch of different directions, perhaps because I’m not going in a single direction. This week I turned in a final revision of Hush Little Baby, a good friend of mine, Carrie Luna, and I just chatted and she said, she’s working on her scalpel revision. And I love that. I was just doing my scalpel revision, which is that very last final making everything perfect. So I sent that in on Monday. I sent out to Patreon essay on Monday. And I started 3 new 90 Days to Done classes also on Monday. So this week has been about finishes and start, and its Thursday as I record this and I’m kind of tired, I’m kind of brain dead. I am excited to have the book off my plate for a little bit, and to go back into working on what I am calling now, You’re Already Ready. That’s the new title for replenish, working on that.  [00:01:57] The news broke last week. I think I mentioned it in the show last week, but The Writers Well is no more. So J Thorn and I are not doing our podcast, The Writers Well anymore. We’re still besties. Everything is good, but it has been really nice to be hearing from people who loved the show, and I just wanted to thank you very sincerely for watching it. I guess you never watched it, it was always just audio, not like the show- for listening for years. For those of you who did it was really, really fun. Yeah. So mourning that a little bit, but not mourning the loss of J cause I’m gonna talk to him on Monday and he’s got lots of things to tell me, so that’s great. I wanted to quickly thank new patrons. Because what happened is The Writers Well, we closed it, but we had patrons over there and we invited people to come support us at our own Patreon, and some people have done that. I never expected it. And it is really, really nice.  [00:02:54] So I would like to thank new patrons, Nicole Knightley, Rosie Radcliffe. I might’ve thanked you guys last week. Claire Chandler, upped her pledge. Thanks Claire. That’s so nice of you. Michelle Maida also upped her pledge. Thank you, Jeremy Neander who was a patron over at The Writers Well, thanks Jeremy. Amanda Ward. Thank you very much. Sue Roth edited her pledge up. Amazing. These two names are completely hidden from me. Oh, Kim Martin. Hello Kim. Thank you so much. And this one’s also a little bit hidden from me. Waname L. Spencer, thanks Waname. That’s amazing. Thank you so, so much everybody. If you ever want to look at what I’m offering, you can always go over to patreon.com/Rachael. There’s some cool things there. However, the thing that I’m always most excited about is those essays that I get to write and then put into collections of books and then get to share with you. So that is work. I really enjoy.  [00:03:54] What else is going on around here? I went for a run this morning because J has been influencing me, and that he has become a runner. I used to be a runner. If you’re watching the YouTube video, you can see that I’m wearing my Honolulu marathon finisher shirt. I don’t wear this very often because I need this shirt to last by the rest of my life cause I’m never doing another marathon. I’ve done two, never doing another one. It was fabulous. The shirt I need to point out is old enough to have a driver’s license. It was 16 years ago that I did that marathon. I can’t believe that, I’m 48, so I was only 32. And there’s a part of me that’s saying, why are you trying to run? I just really, really like running. So I am starting out with something and I think J told me about this it’s called None to Run. Not a nun and a habit, but N-O-N-E, None to Run. It is a little bit slower than Couch to 5k, because I have tried to get back into running, using Couch to 5k apps, and they’re a little bit too fast and I ended up messing up my knees or shin splints. So None to Run is a little bit slower. And I tried it this morning and it was dang easy. I, I have to admit, I didn’t even break a sweat. So that’s an awesome way to run, to start getting back into it, even though there was some running, no sweating that will change. But, if anybody is thinking about getting into a running program, number one, consult your doctor. [00:05:20] Number two, maybe none to run is for you just Google it. It will come right up. So without further ado, let’s get into this interview with Joshua, which I am so pleased and proud to bring you, like I said, this book blew me away. I usually only read two or three books of poetry a year. Cause I’m so intimidated by poetry and because it moves me so much, I’m a little bit scared of it, honestly. And I kind of show that in this interview, you will hear me kind of displaying that. The caution that I feel around the incredibly huge surges of emotion and meaning that can come through poetry in a way that is, I believe, inaccessible in other mediums. So have a good time with this interview. Thanks so much for listening and I wish you all very happy writing.

Hey, is resistance keeping you from writing? Are you looking for an actual writing community in which you can make a calls and be held accountable for them? Join RachaelSaysWrite, like twice weekly, two hour writing session on zoom. You can bop in and out of the writing room as your schedule needs, but for just $39 a month, you can write up to 4 hours a week. With our wonderful little community, in which you’ll actually get to know your writing peers. We write from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Tuesdays and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Thursdays and that’s US Pacific Standard Time. Go to RachaelHerron.com/Write to find out more.

Rachael Herron: [00:06:58] Well, I could not be more pleased today to welcome to the show. Joshua Bennett. Hello, Joshua, welcome.

Joshua Bennett: [00:07:02] Hi Rachael thanks for having me. 

Rachael Herron: [00:07:04] I am thrilled to have you. We share a publisher and my publisher sent me your book and it blew me away. I spent an evening lost in it, so I’m so glad that you’re here and you’re gonna share a little bit with us, but I’ll give you an introduction first and then we’ll start chatting. A poet, performer and scholar Joshua Bennett is the author of the just released book of poetry, Owed, which speaks to the expansive range of registers within the world of Black aesthetics and experience: the joy, rage, love terror, and all that gives a world within a world, all the shape and tenor. He received his PhD in English from Princeton University, and is currently Mellon Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth. His writing has been published in the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review Poetry and elsewhere. His book Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and The End of Man was published by Harvard University Press in May 2020. His first work of narrative nonfiction Spoken Word: A Cultural History, is forthcoming from Knopf and he lives in Boston. You ha- let’s start off with, you’ve had a really frickin’ busy year. 

Joshua Bennett: [00:08:12] Yeah, you know, there’s a lot going on. 

Rachael Herron: [00:08:14] There’s a lot going on. And did I read- and something that the publisher sent me that are you about to have a baby? 

Joshua Bennett: [00:08:20] Yeah. In the next couple of weeks.

Rachael Herron: [00:08:22] Oh my goodness. So you’ve had two books come out, one forthcoming a baby on the way, a global pandemic, the country in racial uprising. And you speaking to that, like how, how are you doing, today? Let’s not talk about how are you doing, but how are you doing like today. 

Joshua Bennett: [00:08:40] Yeah. I’m all right today. Today I’m preparing, you know, start teaching in two weeks, yeah right. A little bit now getting ready to teach this modern black American literature class, getting my son’s nursery ready. I mean, so there’s, there’s like the real singular joy of that, and I just had a book come out yesterday. So there’s joy in the midst. 

Rachael Herron: [00:09:10] Yeah, yeah. A beautiful, beautiful, important book. Would you read us a poem from it please?

Joshua Bennett: [00:09:16] Of course. So this poem is a favorite of mine in part just during the pandemic. I think one of the things that I’ve missed most is barbershops. So this is barber 

Rachael Herron: [00:09:25] I love this one. Yes.

Joshua Bennett: [00:09:28] Barbara song, postmodern blackness blacksmith, straight razor reshaping, self-esteem, huge dream in geometries unreachable by any other means. Speak and entire phrases abandoned standard American etymology hence, you liberate waves from the sea. Corn rows from the corn field reclaim fade. So I now hear the word and imagine only abundance. Caesar never meant anything to me, but a cut so close, you could see the shimmer of a man’s thinking. You are how we first learned to bend language built to unmake us except implausible risks. Some much older man, shaver in hand like a baton full of laughs gossip asking with the grain or against, and the question feels damn near existential. Given this is the only place we can live, in such thoughtless proximity to another person’s open hands, be held by the face. Ask outright to be made glamorous shaped by your polymathic brilliance. You biweekly psychoanalyst first stopped before funeral, before wedding and block party alike. You, soothsayer cooing children to calm, as they sit in the chair for the first time, as still as storm, as one might reasonably expect. You, ethicist defending hairlines at all costs, your vigilance keeping online and otherwise slander at bay. Philosopher king, the source in the drawer. Domino’s and scotch and barbasol adorning your counter top, right above the chorus line of clippers swaying to the clamor of checkmates and offhand insults now filling the shop. Each moving as if the unfettered locks of some great metal monster, some far away watcher and you, guardian of it all clean as a Pope.

Rachael Herron: [00:11:29] Listener so what just happened to your brain, is what happens to your brain when you read this book Owed. I live in East Oakland and there’s a black barbershop, like just the end of my block. And it’s called the Pull Up Your Pants Barbershop. And he will, he will give you a belt if you walk in without a belt. It’s- it’s but, and it’s obviously, obviously not my place. It is not a place for me to partake in any of this. So, so actually getting to listen to your voice makes me feel like I do when I walk past like real slowly with my ear open, just because it, it, it strikes me as this magical poets, poet scholar, Pope, place of learning. So that’s, that’s gorgeous. So you as a writer, the show is about writing as process and finding our process in the midst of life. You do so many things. How do you get the damn writing done? That’s what I would like to know. 

Joshua Bennett: [00:12:29] Well, that’s a great question

Rachael Herron: [00:12:30] And knowing that everything might change in two weeks when you have a baby and you’re teaching.

Joshua Bennett: [00:12:33] For sure. I mean, yeah. I mean, I’ve just been going hard every single day. I mean I write every day if not a poem, a line, an idea, a grant proposal something, I mean, I always try to get just language on the page usually for a long time I wrote at the dining room table behind me, but my wife asked me to stop doing that. So I’m just going to stop doing that. I have stopped doing it, hi honey, in case you’re listening later. Right now, 

Rachael Herron: [00:12:52] No okay, let me ask you, why did she stop doing it, was it because of the faces you would make when you did it, or do you talk to the computer or- 

Joshua Bennett: [00:13:00] That’s a great question. No, I mean, she’s great with this. I mean the dining table is for eating. So I think she just has tried to help me organize my base around it. 

Rachael Herron: [00:13:14] Yeah

Joshua Bennett: [00:13:15] She’s like, don’t write during meals, I get, you know, this is- you can rest sometimes, you can watch TV, you can read the pleasure and all that kind of stuff. So no, I just do my best to write every day and I just try to make music out of it. You know, whether it’s something I overhear someone saying in a restaurant historically, or there’s a passage in the book, you know, that really resonates with me like almost all the titles of my books, for instance come from passages of thinkers that matter a lot to me. So, yeah. 

Rachael Herron: [00:13:44] So you write narrative nonfiction, you write nonfiction, literary criticism, and poetry. What I, I, I’m, I’m leading the witness, but what, how’s your heart the most? Is it poetry or is it something else? Or I know it’s like, you know, which kid is your favorite? But- 

Joshua Bennett: [00:14:01] That’s tough. I mean life is not tough, I mean it’s tough to say maybe because we’re not supposed to outright state preferences like this in some ways, but no, I mean, poetry will always be my home genre. It’ll always be my heart in no small part because it was first, you know, sort of the first, poets I ever saw were preachers. And I still regard that as a certain form of poetry. One of my favorite thinker, Hortense Spillers, brilliant black feminist, critical theorists. I found her dissertation about two years ago. And in the beginning she makes this argument that a black preacher and the plantation were sort of the first poets of the black community. And so it was this incredible moment thinking that against my own childhood and my own upbringing. And whenever I feel like the criticism or the nonfiction is dry or the language isn’t there, I always turn to the poems to electrify and to bring it back to life. So, it’s, it’s a, I’m a, I’m a poet first and foremost, you know, 

Rachael Herron: [00:14:55] I have, I have a hero worship of poets if that’s not already coming through because I am not a poet. And even when I was in grad school, the one poetry class they made us take, right, you had to do one outside your, your, your major. And I remember them telling me, you know, you just, you can’t write fiction in a poem. There’s gotta be some poetry in there. So, so, and so when someone does it as beautifully as you do, it’s just really inspiring to me. So thank you for sharing that. What is the biggest challenge you have when it comes to writing of any type?

Joshua Bennett: [00:15:28] The biggest challenge I have when it comes to writing of any type. It’s funny I was asked the question like this recently and I feel bad. I don’t, it is, it feels good. I don’t know. I mean, I guess the challenge of writing for me soon will be time for sure. But if I can be, be completely honest. I mean, writing has been such an intimate part of my life for as long as I can remember. I mean since I was about four or five years old. I wrote short stories. I wrote poems. I improvised sermons off the top of my head and I was in a really tight knit super weird family culture, where people need space for all that stuff. I don’t listen to the whole 40 minutes of the improvise sermon of the seven-year-old boy. They would gather around me in the dining room and they would just let me go. 

Rachael Herron: [00:16:13] How beautiful is that? 

Joshua Bennett: [00:16:14] It’s incredible! No, definitely, yeah great notes, you know, in parenting very early that experience. But it was, I mean, in one way it was a kind of countervailing narrative, right? So the school system, I was a part of where I was told when I was five, I would never function in the classroom. You know, that my day dreaming was a problem. But then in the home space, my parents really just kind of left me alone and they were like, Josh is writing, you know, I’m a little boy, five, six years old right. And so for me writing is that, it’s a liberatory space, you know, I think I have an issue like we all do with kind of putting it out into the world sometimes, but the actual writing itself, I’m very comfortable with it not being good. If I can be completely honest. I have poems that just- they’re not swinging, you know, everything doesn’t swing that you put on the page and that, that’s fine. And I, I really mean that. And that’s, that’s made a, a big difference as I get older and have to go through a bunch of drafts to get to something like this book, you know, I’m, I’m acquainted with it and that it doesn’t scare me. You know, the page is home. 

Rachael Herron: [00:17:14] Yeah. The page is home failure to me. Doesn’t matter on the page. It’s the, it’s the repeated process of going back. I, I, I eat failure for breakfast cause I fail basically every single day and every couple of, couple of days I get a line or two that’s okay. You know? What it is, so along those lines, you probably already, you’ve just described some joy, but what’s your, what’s your biggest joy, if you had to name it when it comes to writing?

Joshua Bennett: [00:17:37] Yeah. I mean, the biggest joy for me is, well, actually let me think about this from a slightly different angle. Recently, it’s actually been the real life discovery as something that might become a poem later. So for example, my wife and I are doulas named perpetual.

Rachael Herron: [00:17:51] Oh my gosh, that’s a novel, there’s a whole novel right there. 

Joshua Bennett: [00:17:54] Right. And the moment she said her name, it wasn’t that, Oh, I’m going to put this in a poem. It was just the nature of the interaction and the revelation and even the kind of doula she is. I think seeing that story unfold in real time and felt like it was giving me another instrument to write with whether or not that actual detail ever gotten a poem, right? Like there was something that was happening. I felt like it was all threads in the universe coming together in a certain kind of way. So I think that’s the joy of writing for me is having a moment where I feel like my writerly imagination adds a little spice to my actual phenomenological experience. You know, that that’s been part for me. 

Rachael Herron: [00:18:32] So putting all those pieces together, inside a life. Yeah. What, what is the thing- is there a thing in your life that affects your writing in a surprising way? Maybe, maybe your wife telling to move the computer 

Joshua Bennett: [00:18:45] Yeah right, to go, go relax. Yeah I mean, being in level won’t do it. I mean, I think the realization that being smart is not the most important thing in the world.

Rachael Herron: [00:18:58] Don’t tell me that, no. I reject, no.

Joshua Bennett: [00:19:02] I kid you not, I just got there like a year ago, maybe a couple months, really. And I think, I think for me it was a defensive posture for most of my life. Right. That it was a weapon again, largely that my mother had kind of honed in me. Right. You have to be bright. You have to be eloquent, and this for you as a way to move through the world, it’s a kind of armor against narratives will project onto you. And ways that people will try to hurt you. Right. And a part of what I think happened is that becoming a writer, and a scholar, I internalized a defensive posture and I made it a kind of mission to just be, you know, the brightest to sharpest, most rigorous and it’s just not, that’s just not the measure of a human life and I think in part through my relationship with my wife and my close friends and colleagues, I think I’ve found various other strands of a human experience that just mean a great deal to me. 

Rachael Herron: [00:19:55] This is a, this is an intimate question, but do you think you would have come to the same realization if you hadn’t and please forgive me for saying this, but like made it PhD from Princeton, like you’re teaching at Dartmouth, you’ve got all these, like, would you have come there if you were still struggling to get there? 

Joshua Bennett: [00:20:11] Maybe not, that’s a great sort of material conditions question. Yeah. I mean, I think it was really when I got here to Harvard, if I can be honest, and it was in the society of fellows, this kind of elite group within an elite group, you know. These 12 people selected every year from all across the world to eat together for three years and write books and I’m with paleontologists and astronomers who we’re eating together three times a week, and I think just the realization that what made me happiest was actually getting to know these people, I’m in so many ways and just it was the sharing of the ideas again. It almost really felt like being a kid and when you’re on the playground and no one has money, so you trade skills. Like I was fairly good at telling time and my best friend, Danny was really good at helping me not get beat up, you know, and we kind of exchanged you know, those goods and that was the foundation of our friendship for a while as mutual aid. And the understanding that we need each other. So, yeah, I mean, I think especially my success as a, as a young professional scholar and writer helped me realize, and actually even before that, when I was doing the spoken word stuff and touring the world and was financially independent and was getting stopped on the street and it was at the white house, I mean, the night I performed at the white house, I sort of sat alone in my hotel room as a 20-year-old and realized, you know, this can’t be all that I do. Like, I kind of hit the pinnacle of my career as a 20-year-old and I realized there had to be something else. And I think that was, I’m really thankful for that every single day being famous on the internet or well-known is not a, it just can’t be the end all be all, because there’s really nothing in that, that will sustain you.

Rachael Herron: [00:21:44] It’s pretty great that you got that early and not, you know, when you were 72 and you know. So are you still friends with those Harvard 12 that you were with? 

Joshua Bennett: [00:21:54] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There’s 36 of us in total and every year maybe 12, but yeah, no, I’m, I’m cool with the other junior fellows. People are very sweet and, you know, we keep up with each other on Facebook and stuff, so people know that the baby’s on the way. And it’s good 

Rachael Herron: [00:22:10] Such an interesting image to me. Can you- moving back to writing, can you share any kind of craft tip with us? Any craft tip.

Joshua Bennett: [00:22:17] A craft tip. Yeah. Just really read books, you know, so again, this is actually part of my ongoing issue as a, as a self-taught person, you know, is that I didn’t come through an MFA program. I came up through poetry slam and through reading books. That’s how I learned how a line should look on the page. How it should sound, the kind of subject matter that compels me to sit down and write, it comes from those experiences. You know? And so for me, when I, you know, cause I teach both creative writing and sort of literary theory at Dartmouth and I’m always telling my students, of course your, your feelings can be a sort of primary impetus to get to the page, but why wouldn’t sort of historical research or these other narratives outside of you sort of get the texture and tenor and shape and form. It’s what we’re doing to give it stakes, right? To make sure there’s blood in it and that’s the best craft advice I think I’ve gotten, that’s the best craft advice I’ve given, the best craft advice I’ve got is from Gregory Pardlo, who told me to use all of my Englishes. And I think him telling me that felt like permission to use both the kind of theoretical language of the Academy and the vernacular language. That is really how I sound in my head. I just didn’t feel like those could ever collide in a meaningful way. I was always worried it would feel performative or that I would, it wouldn’t be a good representation of the race or something. If I wasn’t writing in a particular way, every time I sat down and I feel like Greg helps liberate me from that.

Rachael Herron: [00:23:48] I was just gonna say, what a liberation. Yeah.

Joshua Bennett: [00:23:50] Yeah, the teachers would do that.

Rachael Herron: [00:23:52] Yeah. So speaking of books, what I always liked to like narrow things down to, you know, an essential one, what’s the best book we read recently? And recently it can be in the last, you know, five years, but, but what is the book you want to tell us about.

Joshua Bennett: [00:24:06] The book I want to tell you all about, well that’s tough. Cause I write about this in my new books are, I spent so much time with it, but probably Song of Solomon about Toni Morrison. I mean, that’s a book I always talk to people about just because it was so transformative for my life. It changed the way I thought about masculinity, about love and care about religion, about parenthood. If I can be completely frank and redemption, there are so many different kinds of redemption happening in that book and Morrison doesn’t really let us go. She doesn’t let us off the hook. Another really good book that I read last week is The Voice of the Children Anthology that June Jordan put together, in the early seventies. She used to host a workshop for children at church of the open door in Brooklyn. And I anthologize all their work at the end of the year. And I was just sitting down with these poems I mean one was written by a girl named Vanessa Howard, who I think might have been 14 or 15 years old. It’s called Monument in Black. And it’s just this gorgeous opening stanza about putting her parents on money, it was like, put my father’s black- what is it? It’s like, put my father’s black smile on the penny or something, I think is the opening. And it’s just this, I don’t know. It’s just a gorgeous image to me because she doesn’t even want, she doesn’t even make a radical move to say there are historical figures that are under studied and that should be on the currency. It’s like about everyday people you know, those are her heroes. It’s the people on her block, the people at her home. So that’s an incredible book those-

Rachael Herron: [00:25:34] Voices of the what? 

Joshua Bennett: [00:25:36] Voices of the Children

Rachael Herron: [00:25:37] Voices of the Children Great.

Joshua Bennett: [00:25:38] Yeah, yeah. It’s great.

Rachael Herron: [00:25:41] I’ll put the link in the show notes for that. Okay. So will you tell us now about number one, where we can find you on the internet and number two, tell us a little bit about Owed.

Joshua Bennett: [00:25:49] Yeah. Yeah. You can-

Rachael Herron: [00:25:50] How you came out. How that, how that all came together. Sorry to interrupt you.

Joshua Bennett: [00:25:53] Yeah, yeah, no, no, no, you’re fine. You can find me on the internet mostly. I do most of my thinking out loud on Twitter. So @SirJoshBennett, that’s also my Instagram handle (SirJoshBennett) and then I have a Facebook fan page, you could just find by searching Joshua Bennett poet Facebook. (PoetJoshuaBennett) How did Owed come about? Well, one stormy night, 2016. Yeah, I was at the comic con retreat, actually, this is really what happened and it might’ve been stormy that night. The comic con retreat in 2016, and I had Willie Perdomos workshop the next day, so part of how comic con works, and I don’t think I’m giving away too many trade secrets here, but you have to write and write a new poem every day. I was sitting down and I’ve been in a kind of old space, like a celebratory space in the writing. And I knew I wanted to write a poem about my big sister, and everything she taught me, which was everything from how to write and read, to how to fight and how to do long division. So I wanted to get that all onto the page and it became not just about celebrating my sister and that occasion, but what was owed to her, right. It felt like Owed was actually a way of traversing that space between my love for her and this tremendous debt that I felt like I- I’d owed this woman who helped shape my life. And also the little girl who helped shape my life, you know, when we were both little kids. And so that’s how it began. The first quote I wrote was owed pedagogy, it’s the second poem in the book. And then from there, I just thought about it as a larger project. What would it look like to create an aesthetics of reparation or to contribute to it rather, right, and invent this stuff, but, but my idea was that, that’s of course, think about physical reparations as the material redistribution of wealth, but what about the kind of soul work? The symbolic work, the literary work that has to be done alongside that, to really counteract all the negative images of blackness that we all inherit. Right. And then we all internalize, right? So I wanted to think about that as, as my contribution through this book. 

Rachael Herron: [00:27:46] And you do such a gorgeous job of doing this with your father too, and he’s kind of this touch stone all the way through. He’s even on the cover, that he’s the one holding you, right?

Joshua Bennett: [00:27:56] Yeah, yeah

Rachael Herron: [00:27:57] It’s- and you know, what’s really embarrassing, I’m just going to admit this to you right now, is this is so much of a poetry lover and a non-poetry understander that I am, I didn’t understand until you were just saying these things out loud, that Owed is a play on words.

Joshua Bennett: [00:28:10] Yeah. 

Rachael Herron: [00:28:11] I only saw it as O-W-E-D. So I would like to share that with the listeners, if you’re just listening in your car, it’s not O-D-E, which makes absolute sense. But the, the play on that is so gorgeous and then ending the book with your father too. 

Joshua Bennett: [00:28:26] Yeah

Rachael Herron: [00:28:27] What a, what a, what a gift this book is. Thank you so much for being on the show and thank you for speaking so openly. And the book just came out yesterday, may it fly from the virtual shelves. I hope that you’re having a wonderful time promoting it, and I hope that you’re getting the praise that is your due 

Joshua Bennett: [00:28:47] Thank you, Rachael, that means a lot. Thank you. 

Rachael Herron: [00:28:50] Well, you’re welcome. Good- I’m so excited for your son too. Welcome to him!

Joshua Bennett: [00:28:55] Yeah!

Rachael Herron: [00:28:56] Welcome to him when he gets here! I’m gonna go stalk you on Instagram just so I can see pictures of that. 

Joshua Bennett: [00:29:01] Sure! No, no, I’ll be posted up. I’m gonna have a little baby and he’s going to be in the front and I’m going to be annoying. I can’t wait. 

Rachael Herron: [00:29:07] Please be annoying. There’s nothing like Instagram is for cute dog pics and babies. That’s what is for.

Joshua Bennett: [00:29:12] And baby. Yeah. Yeah. 

Rachael Herron: [00:29:14] Thanks Joshua so much.

Joshua Bennett: [00:29:18] It’s a pleasure.

Rachael Herron: [00:29:19] Bye

Thanks so much for joining me on this episode of “How do you Write?” You can reach me on Twitter, twitter.com/RachaelHerron, or at my website, www.rachaelherron.com, you can also support me on Patreon and get essays on living your creative life for as little as a buck an essay at www.patreon.com/rachael spelled R, A, C, H, A, E, L and do sign up for my free weekly newsletter of encouragement to writers rachaelherron.com/write/

Now, go to your desk and create your own process and get to writing my friends.

The post Ep. 198: Joshua Bennett on Making Sure There’s Blood in Your Writing appeared first on R. H. HERRON.

Ep. 198: Joshua Bennett on Making Sure There’s Blood in Your Writing