Interview with Working Writers on The Missouri Review Blog
Interview with Leah Falk on MFA Day Job
Interview with myself on Not Intent on Arriving
Interview with Daniel Ross in SLC Interview and SLC Impact
Interview with Erica Quinn in Finch & Ada
Food writers could take a few pages from Kristin's book: her
meticulous and combinatorial approach to foodstuffs themselves; her
sensitivity to the gustatory range, from eremite to glutton; and—most
recognizably poetic, and thus placed later in her works to avoid
misleading us—her innate talent for catalog. In “After the Dutch
Folklore,” she makes a menu of these elements, reinventing her
subjects (yellowed squash, maple “blood,” flash-fried pancakes) in an
arresting and even unsettling way. They are “packed in ways / I'd
never wanted to understand,” signals to and for and interpreted by
hunger, then rendered in poetry and given over to a greater hunger.
It's a ticklish, fervent thing to key into Maffei's treatments. We
pass through, lingering on phrases that take on puzzling, magisterial
tones after a few seconds. For example, she describes a deaf man whose
“eyes tear as he crunches his exploded corn / and dreams of
whalesong.” Fitting, that aural cues carry the movement, measured “r”s
reenacting in our own jaws miniature, embodied responses to her
explosions on paper. And, also, to dig further in that quote, the
guilty sting of inhabiting the deaf, of our sole means of engagement
being the spoken and heard poem. She'll risk that sour note the way a
daring chef might, succeeding both on those terms and with perceptible
nods to commodity and ornament.
We might worry that Kristin's poems could be characterized as just
“things thrown in a bag,” but we'd be wrong for several reasons. The
place to look would be “American Tourister, Purple, 1968” (great
title) and similar poems in which, lo and behold, things get thrown in
a bag. Even here, in the place where the enemies of cataloging would
reduce proceedings to just a catalog, her studied choices vindicate
themselves again and again. Keepsakes, knickknacks, and talismans are
here proven elemental and reactive, trustworthy and unpredictable; in
Maffei's hands, their facets motor the poem right along, more than
convincingly. In fact, upon emergence from an explicit list, we
empowered to borrow this approach for the rest of her poem and the
woozy aftermath—“a breath of ether. The return voyage.”
-Peter Longofono, Cornelia Street Graduate Reading Series
In small-town community journalism, it is very difficult to find quality writers. To be candid, it’s easy to start as a freelancer with my publications. I generally give anyone who is interested a shot at working with us. However, if they don’t quickly produce quality stories, I stop giving out assignments. So, it says a lot that Kristin has written nearly 50 articles for us, including a cover-story once, and twice as a centerfold. I’ve worked with nearly 100 writers in different capacities during my career, and Kristin definitely falls somewhere in the Top 5, and stands out in particular for her capacity to humanize any topic.
To cite a specific example, I had asked her to write a weekly real estate feature about a house being sold. Kristin is the only writer I know who, when tasked with such a mundane topic, was able to tum a house into a home and bring tears to the reader’s eyes. In her stories, each home came alive with a history of families raising their children, teenagers moving off to college, grandchildren coming to visit or a spouse becoming a widow. Kristin was so successful with this weekly feature that we had a long line of real estate agencies requesting stories written by her.
From the beginning, Kristin was clear with me that her passions remained with poetry. Had she wanted to work with us on staff as a full-time reporter, however, I would have hired her immediately. As an editor of weekly publications, I found her amenable to editorial changes and I was extremely pleased with her quick turn-around time; Kristin was diligent about deadlines, worked well under pressure and routinely juggled multiple stories.
Kristin has excellent interpersonal communication skills and regularly conducted interviews with citizens and local business owners. She maintains a professional, but personable demeanor. Kristin’s easy sensitivity in these interviews, coupled with a humanist style of writing, allowed her to write articles on hot-button issues, including the Egyptian revolution and gay marriage. Through her interviews, she was able to personalize these issues and make them relevant for our hyper-local publications. Kristin also worked closely with one of our staff photographers and was dependable for working with the busy schedules of both the photographer and interviewees.
As a freelancer, Kristin creates balanced, quality Work under varying degrees of time-pressure. Her pieces are consistently well-researched and stylistically tight. Always willing to take on another piece, her ability to work with a multitude of different personalities and to always find the human side of her story has made her an important asset to our team. I believe she would do equally well in any position requiring strong Writing and communication skills and the ability to work well under deadline.
- Brett Freeman, Publisher: Mahopac News, The Somers Record and Yorktown News
Kristin was always available to help us if need be, and constantly provided excellent critiques and suggestions on our work, which I really appreciated. She was very organized as far as the lesson plan as well, and was able to sort of push us and ask deeper questions when the discussion fell short. I know she's just a grad student, but I think she'd make a wonderful professor, especially since I ended up enjoying the class because of her despite being highly bothered by some other aspects of the class climate. I'd recommend her as a professor, if I could!
This was an amazing course, and served as an impeccable introduction into Creative Writing; it's the reason I decided to minor in this field. I really like the fact that learning was not only limited to the classroom because the Creative Writing department was also involved, letting us know of certain writing events going on around campus and giving us easy access to a plethora of opportunities that any writer would appreciate. It was not very challenging, which I find acceptable for an introductory course, but I do expect the material to get harder as I keep completing my requirements for the minor, which I look forward to. I wish Professor Maffei had intertwined fiction and poetry assignments (focusing on poetry on one week or month, switching to fiction the next, and then switching back and forth) instead of focusing on fiction for the firs half of the semester and then poetry for the second, but I commend her teaching skills; she was an amazing instructor to have.
- Anonymous Student Evaluations, New York University