Cheryl Snell is an award-winning author of seven books of poetry, stories, and two novels. Shiva's Arms (Writer's Lair Books), explores cultural identity, the power of reconciliation, and the meaning of home, and Rescuing Ranu, deals with sacrifice, survival, and the mysterious alchemy of love. She is a three time Pushcart nominee, the winner,along with her sister Janet Snell, of Lopside Press Chapbook Competition, and one of her poems was chosen for a Best of the Net anthology. When she's not writing, she plays a mean classical piano.
from Carla Sarrett's Blog:There aren’t that many sisters working together in the way that they you and your sister Janet do (maybe there aren’t any?) How does the sibling part of your partnership fit into the artistic part? Do you fight?
Just with our brothers! Seriously, Janet and I have great respect for each other, and although we have a similar worldview, we’re interested in the points at which we diverge. Differing opinions are an opportunity to build something better, but I have to admit that the sister who feels most passionately about a particular point wins the other over.
Who makes the decisions about which images work best for which poems? I’d imagine it’s hard to pick! (And have you ever had second thoughts after you went to publication?)
Most of the poems are made to order. Janet will show me photos of her latest batch of work, and after we discuss meaning, mood, and inspiration, I will make a poem to complement a picture that speaks to me. I try to incorporate Janet’s imagery into my own to achieve the effect of a musical duet, with each voice responding and supporting the other. Her work is quite autobiographical, so I usually know what she’s “talking” about, but my words do not necessarily narrate her picture. I try instead to extend its meaning, so the connections are looser, more elastic. As for second thoughts after publication--I have them all the time. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have a good editor re-pair the works before publication. This happened with the linocuts in one of my poetry collections, and I thought the editor added an interesting dimension with her choices. This is not always the case -- don’t get me started!