Author Spotlight: Judith Fetterley

Microphone in front of blue/green background

Judith Fetterley lives, writes, and gardens in upstate New York.  Writing about gardening, she finds ways of telling stories about what it means to be human. You can subscribe here to my newsletter “Out in the Garden.” Her piece, ‘Lineage’, can be found in EPOCH Issue 03: Roots, available to purchase here.

Why do you write CNF, and do you explore other genres in your work?

I love words, I love the heft of them, their sounds, the way they play together.  I love putting words together to create a piece that delights, informs, and shares my view of the world as a cosmic comedy.

Did you have a piece already written when you learned about Epoch’s theme, or did you write a new piece? If so, how did you approach the theme of Roots in the creation of your work?

I had written “Lineage” as an homage to my mother and as a form of verbal magic – perhaps I can escape dementia if through gardening I can align myself with my mother’s roots.

What is the biggest challenge when writing CNF?

Getting a piece to cohere.  I am great at sentences and paragraphs, but often have trouble with the big picture. 

What’s your favourite piece of art in your home?

I have so many, no art goes up that is not a favorite.  Just spent some time in a house with the worst imaginable art on the walls and could not imagine how anyone would live in such a space. But I will share some thoughts on a piece I got several years ago visiting a friend in Alexandria, Va., and going to the Torpedo Factory gallery.  The piece is titled “Jerseys in Virginia,” and it is a sketch of three cows, side by side, walking deliberately forward as if to come out of the frame.  For years I ran the graduate program for my department, and so was responsible for the teaching assignments of the graduate students.  I love this sketch because it reminds me of my wonderful students, many of whom would approach me just as do these purposeful Jerseys to ask that their assignment be changed.  I have dubbed this pencil sketch “We really can’t manage our assignments, Dr. Fetterley” .

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