Laura Chester has been an editor of the magazines Stooge, Best Friends, the important first anthology of women's poetry, Rising Tides, and the innovative small press, The Figures. Her books of poetry, prose, and non-fiction include The All Night Salt Lick, Chunk Off & Float, Nightlatch, Primagravida, Watermark, and My Pleasure. Lupus Novice was recently published by Station Hill Press, and a new book of poems, Free Rein, is forthcoming from Burning Deck. She is editor of Deep Down, The New Sensual Writing by Women, due from Faber & Faber, Spring 1988.
Working Notes, Laura Chester:
When I got into the swing of writing Free Rein, I tried to type a page a day, and did this fairly faithfully, until I completed all twenty-four parts. I wanted each poem to have a similar size, and though I set no definite boundaries for myself, such as the sonnet form, I think the units of the entire piece do seem to work together as a whole. Once I was well into the writing, I began to draw from the past, and an older manuscript, My Life with Horses, but I was mainly being propelled by my feelings for the present. I wanted the writing to retain a compactness, the way one feels collected on a horse, in movement--where there is both power (speed) and control (restraint) as well as the unpredictable element, which in this case was love.