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Kate Greene - Four Way Interview

Image copyright Dia Feli
Kate Greene is an essayist, poet, journalist, and former laser physicist whose work has appeared in Aeon, Harvard Review, the New Yorker, The Economist, and WIRED, among others. She was second-in-command on the first simulated Mars mission for NASA’s HI-SEAS project. She holds a BS in chemistry, an MS in physics and an MFA in poetry, and has taught writing at Columbia University, San Francisco State University, and the Tennessee Prison for Women. She lives in NYC. Her latest book is Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars.

Why science?

The mystery! And discovery, but mostly the mystery—the questions, the transmutation of a question into something approaching an answer that often leads to more questions. It’s good if you’re curious. A renewable resource. 

Why this book?

I had to write it so it’d stop taking up so much space in the brain. There were too many strange and satisfying connections between my HI-SEAS experience and the rest of life to ignore.  

What’s next?

Writing-wise, it’s a poetry chapbook that’s finally come together. I’m also poking at a beast of a larger project that deals with artificial intelligence and 'algorithms of the self.' I hope to queer the usual questions and frameworks around AI.

What’s exciting you at the moment?

In poetry it’s Larry Eigner, a Bay Area poet who wrote from the 50s to the 90s in a fragmentary style that is utterly compelling to me right now. I’m also making my way through Ursula Le Guin’s essays and other nonfiction and short stories by Robert Walser. I’m excited about policy changes forthcoming from the Biden administration and the efforts toward racial equity that seem rooted in practical, useful measures. And finally, I’m very excited about the vaccine for COVID-19. Less excited about the slow roll-out, but still grateful that lives are being saved and hopeful that distribution will improve.

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