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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