I’ve Got Questions for Stacy R. Nigliazzo

Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.

My Borrowed Face by Stacy R. Nigliazzo
  • What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?

My Borrowed Face; Poetry; Press 53; Pub date 4.26.2022

  • In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?

My Borrowed Face chronicles my journey as a frontline nurse over the course of the coronavirus pandemic (2020-2022).

  • What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?

The poems are deliberately concise and fragmented with myriad white space, mirroring the frantic, focused care provided by physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff over our fitful last two years.

  • What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?

In a review of My Borrowed Face, Jennifer Martelli writes,the poems throb across the page, pulling us apart with each word or phrase, transforming until ‘our hearts break’.”  I am humbled and deeply grateful for her perspective.

  • What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]

In terms of pandemic narratives, I would certainly hope it would be comparable to such works as Daughter, by Cortney Davis, and A Different Distance: A Renga, by Marilyn Hacker & Karthika Nair. Both of these books tell deeply personal, compelling stories with bravery and compassion, but above all, they are wholly authentic and believable.   

  • Why this book? Why now?

There are few events in our recent past that are bigger, and perhaps more misunderstood, than the pandemic. As a frontline healthcare worker I feel a responsibility to tell this story; to confess and to clarify.

  • Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?

I consider patient care and creative writing both to be my life’s work in equal measure. I am thankful for each job and don’t believe I could effectively do one without the other.

  • What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I want readers to understand what it was like in our hospitals and in our communities during the pandemic; to learn and to move forward with honesty, wisdom, and purpose.

  • What food and/or music do you associate with the book?

Music saved me during the pandemic, especially the classics. I played them continuously on my iPhone as I worked. I still do. Most of the lyrics are in Latin, which I generally do not look up, I simply find comfort in the knowledge that they are also prayers (i.e., Faure’s Requiem, Op. 48: Pie Jesu). Any food I associate with this book would be whatever I could eat hastily between cases, away from the wards – and at least ten gallons of Coke Zero.

  • What book(s) are you reading currently?

The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India.

Stacy R. Nigliazzo

Learn more about Stacy on her website.

Buy the book from the publisher (Press 53) or on Bookshop.org.

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