“Hatchling” (Poetry) by Temme von Lackum Dedlow
Forum: How did you start writing?
Dedlow: Writing has been a creative and emotional outlet for me for probably nearly as long as I’ve been able to produce words. I owe a lot of that to early encouragement from family (related and not) and mentors, notably a first grade teacher with a knack for getting poetry out of six and seven-year-olds.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
I wish I had a pithier response for this, but a list of writers whose language and stories have stayed with me would have to include Monica Furlong, Zora Neale Hurston, Karen Joy Fowler, Ocean Vuong, Charlotte Brontë, and Ralph Ellison.
What was the inspiration for this poem?
The impetus was a prompt to free write about a lingering memory; the subject of the poem is an experience I had working in the field a few years back that stuck with me. The egg in question was a wood duck’s.
What drew you to write this as a poem as opposed to a short story?
There’s certainly a narrative element here, but the way this came out onto the page—maybe because it was such a brief, vivid experience, maybe because it felt so personal—seemed more suited to the form. I never really considered trying to shape it into a short story.
This poem is so remarkably visceral. Could you describe your approach to writing the sensory details?
I think a lot of this comes down to the memory itself of what I experienced as a very visceral moment, but my usual approach is to write more, and cut that down to what’s working for me, which I definitely did in this case. I also use a thesaurus to scan for words that feel most true to the image.