Liz Robbins writes poetry that critics have called smart, savvy, dangerous, and unpredictable. Appalachian State University’s literary journal Cold Mountain Review has chosen her newest collection, Night Swimming, as the recipient of its first annual poetry prize.

Liz Robbins lives in St. Augustine, Florida. She will give a reading at the Schaeffer Center For The Performing Arts in Boone on Thursday at 6 p.m. The reading is part of App State's Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writer's Series.

WFDD’s Neal Charnoff recently spoke with Robbins about her work.

Interview highlights

On the relationship between art and fear:

"I think that just in general, fear is a part of art-making. And I think it's because the best art usually involves personal risk by the artist. And that's either in the subject matter or in the developing of a new form, and presenting that."

On writing about teenagers:

"They're right on the cusp of discovering who they are as far as how they want to spend their lives. They're also very sweet and sometimes vulnerable because they haven't figured everything out yet ... and so I like to get inside the perceptions that I imagine they have or that I remember having at that age, because I think the emotions tend to be large at that time."

On why poetry still matters:

"[Poets] tend as a group to be kind of obsessed with truth-telling, distilled truth-telling, and I think in our era of social media ... we're getting a lot of different writing from all different sources. It can be important to have a form of writing that is known to be committed to truth-telling and especially trying to tell difficult truths about life. I do think that it's something that in some corners of the world feels antiquated. I mean, it's always been a little bit of a niche art form, but I think it's definitely worth spending time with and trying different poets."

Editor's Note: This transcript has been edited for clarity. 

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