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Q&A with American poet L.J. Gallagher, writer of 'Seasoning'

Our featured work this week includes a new poem by American poet L.J. Gallagher, titled "Seasoning".

L.J. Gallagher is an investment banker and creative writing alumna of Villanova University. She resides in New York City and most enjoys writing about coming of age, nature and queer relationships. Her work can be found at

Umbrella poetry editor Claire Beaver talked with the poet about her work, her writing process, and what inspires her own writing. Below is their conversation.

Claire Beaver: How did you get started as a poet? When did you start to call yourself a poet?

L.J. Gallagher: I’ve been writing songs, stories and poetry since childhood, but Catherine Staples's Intro to Creative Writing class at Villanova University inspired me to start writing seriously. I am incredibly grateful for all of the encouragement, mentorship and critique from my classmates and professors at Villanova that built my confidence in and nurtured my love for writing.

CB: Can you tell me a bit about how 'Seasoning' came to you? What inspires your writing?

LJG: 'Seasoning' began as a group of several different poems that, as I revised, I came to realize belonged together. It is a landscape of my failed romances, existential panic, persistent homesickness and race against the hedonic treadmill. “Seasoning” was born in New York City, which can feel like both the epicenter of the universe and the loneliest place in it. I write to reconcile the overwhelming love I have for things and people that cannot exist in the same space at the same time.

CB: What is your process like? Are you hit with ideas type or are you a sit down and write type of worker?

LJG: I carry a journal everywhere and write lines, phrases and sometimes full stanzas as they come to me. Every few weeks, I sit down for a several hour-long deep work session to synthesize my scattered ideas into poems. Then, I rewrite and revise each poem every few days: to give it time to breathe and for me to come back with fresh eyes and ears. 

CB: A favorite question for poets: Are you a big editor or do you write it and leave it be?

LJG: Most of the time, I rewrite poems dozens of times using the process above before they feel “finished” to me. However, on rare occasions a poem will flow out of my brain in its final form. When I revise and none of the edits I try out sound as good as the original version: that’s the best feeling ever.

CB: Who are some of your inspirations? Favorite poems?

LJG: Favorite poets (and I do consider lyricists poets!): Taylor Swift, Seamus Heaney, Richard Siken, Matty Healy, and Caitlin Conlon

Favorite poems: "Good Bones" by Maggie Smith, "What You Missed That Day You Were Absent From Fourth Grade" by Brad Aaron Modlin, and "Perhaps the World Ends Here" by Joy Harjo


L.J. Gallagher

L.J. Gallagher is an investment banker and creative writing alumna of Villanova University. Her work has been featured in The Rising Phoenix Review, Lavender Review, Written Tales Magazine and Moonstone Arts’ New Voices. Her poem “Christmas Tree Friday” received a Top Finalist award in Wingless Dreamer’s My Glorious Quill contest. L.J. resides in New York City and most enjoys writing about growing up, nature and queer love. Her favorite poets are Taylor Swift, Seamus Heaney, Richard Siken, Matty Healy and Caitlin Conlon. Her work can be found at

American poet Claire Beaver
Claire Beaver

Claire Beaver is a multidisciplinary writer living and working in New York. Her work has been featured in Last Leaves Magazine, Outspoken, Victory Lapped, and more. Her first chapbook, bones, ashes, fire, was recently released from Bottlecap Press. She is passionate about the power of art and how we interact with it in our daily lives, whether that be conscious or not. She has an M. Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin.

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