Sierra Golden, March 2013
Sierra Golden received her MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University, where she studied under poets Dorianne Laux and John Balaban, taught composition, and was a NCSU Foundation Graduate Fellow. Winner of the program's 2011 Academy of American Poets Prize, Golden's work appears widely in literary journals such as Fourth River, Cirque, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, as well as place-based anthologies about the Pacific Northwest. An avid traveler, Golden spent part of her time as a Gonzaga University undergraduate in Spain and has also spent considerable time in Mexico and Argentina. She recently completed two coast-to-coast road trips in the U.S. Throughout her travels and studies, Golden has discovered that intertwining experiences with labor, found while working summers on a commercial fishing boat in Southeast Alaska, have been integral to her understanding of art. Of these experiences, she writes:
Over the last several years as a writer, my focus has shifted and intensified, coming to center on Southeast Alaska. As the daughter of a fisherman, I have felt and observed the effects of Southeast’s fisheries on family life since I was born, and I have experienced the fishery first hand for the past seven years.This work includes tasks as diverse as gutting and filleting salmon, changing the oil in a large diesel engine, driving and docking a 58 foot boat, cooking, and, of course, the pure physical labor of setting and retrieving the nets. It’s this work, as well as the towns and people of Southeast, that forms the underlying foundation of my poems and that allows me to explore the importance of labor, the relationship between man and nature, the definition of “home,” and the nature of poetry and poet. I want my writing to be as visceral as the world in which I work, as visceral as the sound of a spoon scraping kidneys from a salmon’s spine, and I want the connections I draw between fishing and human experience to illuminate not just my world but those worlds far distant from mine.
In a world increasingly dominated by new, invisible technologies, Golden’s work studies and fosters our relationships with old, physically present technologies—our hands, our minds, our creations. Her work shows that it is through these relationships that we can come to better understand the world we live in today.