• Q&A With WriteByNight Coach Joanna Acevedo


    Joanna Acevedo (New York, NY) is a writer, educator, and editor. She was nominated for a Pushcart in 2021 for her poem “self portrait if the girl is on fire” and is the author of three books and chapbooks, including Unsaid Things (Flexible Press, 2021) and List of Demands (Bottlecap Press, 2022). Her work can be found across the web and in print, including or forthcoming in Apogee, Hobart, and the Rumpus. She is a Guest Editor at Frontier Poetry and The Masters Review, Associate Poetry Editor at West Trade Review, and a member of the Review Team at Gasher Journal, in addition to running interviews at Fauxmoir and The Great Lakes Review. As well as being a Goldwater Fellow at NYU, she was a Hospitalfield 2020 Interdisciplinary Resident. She received her MFA in Fiction from New York University in 2021 and is supported by Creatives Rebuild New York: Guaranteed Income For Artists.


    Where are you from?

    Manhattan, NYC.


    Where did you study?

    I did my BA and BFA at the New School and my MFA at New York University.


    How did you get your start as a writer?

    I published my first book in 2020, but I started writing poetry after I took a Postmodernism In Poetry class in my senior year of high school. That teacher was very supportive of my writing and encouraged me to continue the poetry after the end of the class. Then, in college, I had another mentor who successfully convinced me I needed to pursue writing full time.


    Who are some of your influences?

    Denis Johnson, Rachel Kushner, Jayne Anne Phillips, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Anne Carson.


    What is your favorite thing about educating writers at WBN?

    I enjoy helping other writers find the best possible way to tell their stories. I am a teacher by trade and love the instructive nature of the work, which gives me an opportunity to help other people reach their full potential.


    What is your strangest writing experience?

    Shaking hands with Joyce Carol Oates while she knew my hands were greasy with pizza (true story!). Finding my draft copy of an essay that was recently accepted for publication in my trash folder.


    What is your favorite word and why?

    Interrobang! It’s actually a type of punctuation, but I think it counts.


    Word association: Literature.



    Where do you see the world of writing and publishing heading?

    I think we’re going to see more small and medium size presses filling the gaps that monopoly Big Three presses are leaving in their wake, and in my dreams, I hope that reading makes a comeback. I think that flash fiction and nonfiction have a huge untapped market, and all kinds of nonfiction have a lot of room to grow. Personal writing of all kinds, particularly around identity, is definitely very popular right now, but I see experimental writing making a comeback in response to that.


    Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

    Write, write, write. Write until your brain goes numb. Then don’t write about that thing for a long time. Then edit.


    Interested in working with Joanna? Request a free consult now