Faces of SAL: Gabriela Denise Frank
October 27, 2020
Those interviews you’ve read on the SAL blog that start with a beautiful reflection, then flow into a conversation about SAL’s biome of writing and reading? The person behind those blog pieces is Gabriela Denise Frank. Often called ‘the interviewer extraordinaire’ by the SAL team, Gabriela is the asker and the stitcher, drawing out the interviewee in order to shape a story.
A talented literary artist whose work has appeared in galleries, storefronts, libraries, anthologies, magazines, podcasts, and online, Gabriela’s work is supported by 4Culture, Mineral School, Vermont Studio Center, the Civita Institute, and more, and she is a Jack Straw Writer and Artist Trust EDGE alumna. Find her essays and fiction in True Story, Hunger Mountain, Baltimore Review, The Rumpus, and beyond.
Read and hear her SAL interviews below:
Aaron Counts & Matt Gano, Co‑Founders of Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate Program
An Interview with Bitaniya Giday, Youth Poet Laureate
An Interview with Kristen Millares Young, Author of Subduction
An Interview with Laura Da’ & Arianne True, Co‑Mentors of Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate Program
An Interview with Ruth Dickey, Poet & Author of Mud Blooms
An Interview with WITS Duo John McCartney and Arianne True
Today, we’re turning the mic on Gabriela to learn more about what she’s reading, what’s bringing her joy, and the hidden talent you might not know about…
Tell us about the work you do for SAL!
I have the great pleasure of interviewing people within the SAL ecosystem about writing practice, poetry, teaching, performance, inspiration… and sometimes food and gardening. After we speak, I shape the transcripts into Q&As and flash essays that appear on the SAL/on blog. These conversations have been fun and thought-provoking—each person has sparked my thinking (and my heart) in surprising ways.
What are you reading right now?
I usually have a few things going, a mix of genres. Right now, I’m reading Mary Ruefle’s collected lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey, for a Hugo House class with poet and WITS Writer Sierra Nelson. I just started Anodyne by Khadijah Queen and I’m nearing the end of Exhalation, a collection of stories by Ted Chiang.
What’s “your” local bookstore?
Shout-out to the fabulous Elliott Bay Book Company, who have kept me in books during this time. (The tower on my nightstand is nearly as tall as me.) I keep waiting for someone at EBB to comment on my orders, Really? Back so soon?
If SAL could bring any three authors, who would you choose?
This is the hardest question! I’d love to see Robert Macfarlane, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Paisley Rekdal. Each brings a stunning intellect while remaining, as artists, all-heart.
What are you working on right now in your writing life? Do you have any projects, performances, or publications you want to tell us about?
For the past few years, I’ve been working on a novel. The second draft is cooling on the windowsill, and I’ll start the third revision in January. Meanwhile, I’m back to essays for the fall. I’m going to switch up the rules of NaNoWriMo and, instead of generating new writing, I’ll spend November editing a bunch of pieces that have been simmering on the back burner.
I have an essay coming out soon with Sunlight Press and recent flash nonfiction in Timber Journal and The Normal School on the intersection of middle age, love, death—and the demise of two beloved NASA spacecraft, Opportunity (aka “Oppy”) and Cassini.
What is bringing you joy right now?
My garden, for sure, which is bittersweet as seasons shift. I appreciate these hard-working plants, which have fed us through the summer, even more as their life cycle winds down. Last week, I put our raised beds to bed (and planted garlic for next year) but the onions, kale, carrots, beets, parsnips, fennel, and leeks are still percolating. Time to cloche before the first frost!
When you’re not writing, what else do you love to do?
I’m late to the carb-fest, but I just learned to make bagels! I’m experimenting with toppings. My favorite combo so far is fennel seed/salt. (TBH, anything with salt.)
What’s your hidden talent?
Remembering (cough: spontaneously reciting) dialogue from ’80s and ’90s movies and TV (Seinfeld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sex and the City.) If there was a game show for this, I’d clean up!
Thank you, Gabriela!