Mary Karr has won a Guggenheim Fellowship for her poetry as well as the Pushcart Prize for her poetry and essays. She teaches at Syracuse University and lives in New York City.
In recent years you have tried to find a language to talk about faith and religious conversion. What has that experience been like?
It’s very hard to talk about. We sound like idiots, we really do. The other day I said to my son, who is actually very prayerful, “God’s got his hand on you.” He said, “I know, Mom, but when you say it like that, geez, I feel like I’m in a cult.”
The challenge for me was writing for a secular audience. The people who know don’t need to be convinced, and the people who don’t know are the ones that I am more worried about. There were a lot of things that happened to me along the way that I consider very miraculous that didn’t make the cut. They sounded too haphazard.