My Poet, My Novelist


Friday, February 13, 2009

What’s it like to practice the same line of work as your spouse? Novelist Naeem Murr wrote about that marriage for the Poetry Foundation. We brought him together with his wife, Averill Curdy, for both sides of the story. Produced by Studio 360's Pejk Malinovski

Weigh in: Are you an artist living with an artist?

    Music Playlist
  1. Il Vecchio Castello
    Artist: composed by Modest Mussorsgsky, performed by Anatol Ugorski
    Album: Pictures at an Exhibition
    Label: Polygram Records
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Les Tuileries
    Artist: composed by Modest Mussorsgsky, performed by Anatol Ugorski
    Album: Pictures at an Exhibition
    Label: Polygram Records
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. Descriptions Automatiques
    Artist: composed by Erik Satie, performed by Aldo Ciccolini
    Album: Satie: Complete Piano Works [Disc 4]
    Label: HMV
    Purchase: Amazon
  4. Love Will Tear Us Apart
    Artist: Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
    Album: Melody Mountain 2006
    Label: Rune Grammofon
    Purchase: Amazon


Pejk Malinovski

Comments [7]

Bridget Madden from West Roxbury, Boston, MA

As soon as I had a moment at my boyfriend's house, while he was cooking our Valetine's Day dinner, I emailed this story -- to my "writing spouse". For you see, I have realized that there is TOO MUCH in common with my fellow writers, no matter fiction-, creative non-fic- or poetry-writer, to sustain a romantic relationship. Instead, I've compartmentalized my "special guy" categories.

There's the boyfriend: a firefighter, paramedic & college teacher (for EMTs) who is short, Italian-American, republican and minimalist, while I am a poet/librarian who is tall, Irish-American, uber-liberal and a packrat. We share everything quite easily, except he drools profusely when I talk about what I'm working on for creative writing.

To remedy this, I have my very good friend, my "me-but-a-guy", a fiction writer/ beer salesman (lovely combo!): my writing spouse. He writes the fake stories and emails them to me. I read them and write back. I send him my poems, he reads them and writes back.

And while I listened to this story, I couldn't help but hear the same playful dynamic in my "relationship" with my writing spouse as that between the actual spouses. What's nice is we don't live together, or share any limelight or physical writing space. Instead, we just fill a nice place that's necessarily missing with our real SOs.

I think that there's only room for one writer per relationship. So I find a balance via other means. :)

Thanks again for this story. It was a great Valentine's email for my "writing spouse" and my actual boyfriend enjoyed it, too.


Feb. 26 2009 03:30 AM
Jacqui Larsen from Springville, Utah

I am an artist with a poet husband (Lance Larsen). We both work at home which often makes for some interesting drama/comedy. "Got time for me to read you a poem?" he'll say, right when I'm in the middle of some household task. Then he'll read one, and expect some insightful feedback, which I don't have ready, because I was only half listening. This can get quite dicey at times. Or he'll tap on my studio door -- which I keep locked -- and ask if I'd like lunch. This is really a ruse to try and catch a glimpse of my unfinished work when I open the door. Though he knows full well that I can't bear to have anyone set eyes on my fledging thoughts and false starts, his curiosity gets the best of him.

In all fairness, I'm sure I can be a trial to him as well. Like when the kids are home from school and come to my studio asking for my chauffeuring services and I deflect them back upstairs to the poet. Or when it's getting time for dinner, and I keep working, so the hungriest one (the poet of course) has to cook.

Now and then, amidst all this give and take, we complete a joint project, (most recently, Lance's latest poetry collection, Backyard Alchemy, has one of my paintings on the cover) and recognize that we're lucky to be living this wonderful life together.

Feb. 17 2009 03:46 PM
kate harper and leon marasco from plainfield, vermont


We, too, are married writers. We have written a book–together–on what is likely one of the most difficult subjects for couples to talk about: past loves. Writing about past loves while living the experience of having past loves provide us with an opportunity for very interesting tensions–and rewards. The title of our book is IF ONLY I COULD TELL YOU... Where Past Loves and Current Intimacy Meet. We would love a chance to talk with you. Our website is


Kate Harper and Leon Marasco

Feb. 16 2009 01:19 PM
Daniel from Pittsburgh PA

My sister and I live together in a home I bought in order to start a writer's collective in Pittsburgh; the project's called the Cyberpunk Apocalypse. My sister graciously agreed to come and help me write grants.
However, my sister is not a writer by trade. She's an artist. One that takes her work with the grim seriousness of Van Gogh, Pollock, and various other mad-men.
I write fiction, and three panel comics for a college newspaper that thinks I'm a student there.
It turns out: my sister and I have trouble getting along.
"'What do you think of this: 'If I were soup, you'd be lying,'" she'll say.
"What does that mean?" I'll say in a rude voice, because she always asks nonsense questions and expects non-nonsense answers.
Affronted, she'll snap, "It means ART isn't a three panel comic." Or something like that.
I'll curse her out, and she'll curse me back, and so on.
The crazy thing is that what she gets out of 'If I were soup," eventually turns into something incredible. While I hate to be around for the brain storming, I'm glad to get to see the final product.

If you are curious about my sister's work you can see it here:

Feb. 15 2009 04:46 PM
Leah Samuel from Pittsburgh, PA

The tale of two writers brought to mind my own marriage. I am a journalist and aspiring fiction writer, and my husband, Anthony Butts, is a poet and professor. We've bitterly debated plots and stanzas over Tanzanian peaberry and red rooibos. In our office (which he called a study), we faced away from each other at our respective computers, mumbling to ourselves and taking turns reading aloud. I've pondered his poems and he's proofed my prose. And we've celebrated publication by going out for calamari or cheesecake, and/or he'd summon me to our bedroom, where I once found him wearing nothing but incense smoke, candlelight and a big, stupid grin.

Feb. 15 2009 11:30 AM
Robert Oetting from Bethesda, MD

I LOVE this!!

Feb. 15 2009 10:07 AM
Mark Kroboth from New York, NY

Here is a question. Could two people sound any more self absorbed? Yikes!

Feb. 14 2009 11:12 AM

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