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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Skinny Dip with Margarita Engle

Margarita Engle

Our cur­rent Young People’s Poet Lau­re­ate, Mar­gari­ta Engle has writ­ten about the land, the life, and the heroes of Cuba, along with verse nov­els, pic­ture books, and biogra­phies of heroes the world over.  

What is your favorite day­dream?

I love to dream of instant trav­el, like the “beam me up” gad­get in old Star Trek episodes. There are so many places I want to see, and so many peo­ple I want to vis­it more often, espe­cial­ly rel­a­tives in Los Ange­les, San Fran­cis­co, Mia­mi, and Cuba. I would also love to vis­it my daughter’s in-laws in Nepal, but with­out an exhaust­ing 30-hour flight that includes long lay­overs in air­ports. As long as we’re day­dream­ing, let’s throw in a bit of time trav­el, too!

What’s your favorite part of start­ing a new project?

First drafts are heav­en. Just a pen and paper, qui­et sur­round­ings, day­dreams, and hope. Any­thing is pos­si­ble. (Revi­sions and lat­er drafts are hard work!)

When are you your most cre­ative?

I’m def­i­nite­ly a morn­ing per­son. I love to write as ear­ly as pos­si­ble. Any­thing that isn’t done by noon won’t be done until tomor­row. After­noons are for research, and evenings are for read­ing.

Favorite fla­vor of ice cream?

Ever since I was lit­tle, I’ve always pre­ferred cof­fee ice cream, the stronger the bet­ter. If my moth­er bought any oth­er fla­vor, I poured some cof­fee over it and stirred.

What’s your hid­den tal­ent?

I’m an expert at hid­ing in the for­est, so that wilder­ness search and res­cue dogs can prac­tice find­ing a “lost” hik­er. My hus­band trains our dog, and along with oth­er canine teams, they go on real search­es when some­one real­ly gets lost. Dogs don’t lis­ten to me, and I have no sense of direc­tion, so I’m much bet­ter as a vol­un­teer “vic­tim.”

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