Editor's Note: In advance of the March 11 deadline to apply for Lit Fest Advanced Workshops, we've asked the 2023 Visiting Authors for a preview of their workshop style, what they're reading, and more.

What's the most surprising source of inspiration for you lately? True crime shows. I'm utterly addicted. Especially since I'm in the midst of writing noir, I'm fascinated by the depths of human depravity, how jealousy and delusion and greed and love can lead ordinary people to despicable deeds. I'm often wallowing in those depths in my poetry as well.

What are you working on these days? A novel! In preparation, I took many invaluable classes at Lighthouse, but ultimately discovered that poetry is the perfect training for what I'm writing. Without going into too much detail, it chronicles the mental breakdown of a woman who lost two children during a hurricane. BTW, I'm working through it with Lighthouse faculty Sarah Elizabeth Schantz!

How would you describe your workshop style? I go into my workshops eager to learn something. And it never fails. There's always at least one participant with an idea, a perspective, a broken rule or a gorgeous line, something that energizes my approach to my own work. So I look at a workshop as exchanges of energy. And you always have to be ready for a wild idea to move the entire workshop in an unexpected direction. So there's not much of a "I am leader, you are student" vibe. It's more like finding a new way to revel in and gab about this weird passion we share.

Which writer or artist whose work you love should more people know about? Even though they're perched on the edge of success, I'm going to say Paul Tran. Maybe I'm behind the times and they're already a household name. Their new book, All the Flowers Kneeling, is daring and disturbing in that way that good poetry is destined to disturb. But I wouldn't recommend the work to anyone who isn't ready to face some very difficult truths.

Patricia Smith is teaching Weeklong Advanced Poetry Workshop: Writing the Poem No One Wants to Read (and You Definitely Don't Want to Write). Learn more here. Apply via Submittable.