Interview of Christine Redman-Waldeyer / Carol Smallwood

1.    Please describe your website and your duties as editor/writer.
In 2008 my youngest son was born.  I was looking to make connections with other writers once I felt I lost the ability (even if it was short term) to physically attend writing workshops, readings and retreats. Thus my idea for a women’s journal was born.  After doing some research I wanted the name of the journal to reflect what I felt about my identity as a woman for better or worse.  The name Adanna is Nigerian and means my father’s daughter. In reality it means a daughter looks like her father physically but I infused it with new meaning…We look/act like our founding fathers and I wanted to talk about that. Adanna accepts all literary genres providing the topic reflects women’s commentary on women’s identity. My website only houses these ideologies but it is the work itself that I publish which speaks to my mission as a founder. As an editor, I am looking for both seasoned and emerging artists who want to participate in the conversation whether they are women or men. The topics do not necessarily have to be new conversations about feminism but I am looking for writers/artists who approach these topics in exciting ways.

2.    Tell us about your career.
I have been teaching at the college level now for fifteen years at various 4-year and community colleges and have spent the last nine years teaching full-time in an urban New Jersey community college. I oversee a journalism program and teach creative writing, composition, and literature. What I love about my job is that students bring new insights to readings and lectures I have done for years so I am always learning.

3. Which recognitions/achievements have encouraged you the most?
In my coursework in the Doctorate of Letters program with Drew University, I was recognized in two of my classes by the designation of Honors. My professor at that time, a Russian-born art critique and author, Arcadi Nebolsine felt my writing and reflection went beyond what the coursework demanded and I was encouraged to keep pursuing my love of writing. That was the beginning of feeling valued for my ability to write and ignited a passion and drive to publish. I’ve since then have had my work published in a number of journals across the country.

4. What writers have influenced you the most?
I think my time in Drew’s program benefited me most. Arcadi Nebolsine approached the topic of how a creation has soul. We discussed both art and novel masterpieces and how the restoration can destroy the creator’s intentions. Of course, there are many poets whose work I adore—Linda Pastan, Conrad Aiken, Mark Strand, Lucille Clifton, Alicia Ostriker to name a few.

5. How has the Internet benefited you?
When I was working on my thesis years ago, my research and interview contacts were done the old-fashioned way but today, there is this global community. I’m in touch with writers around the world who purchase and read Adanna and who publish in Adanna. I would not have met or heard of any of these emerging writers had it not been for the Internet. Really it has changed everything.

6. What classes have helped you the most?
I try to attend Maria Gillan’s getaway retreats as often as I can. She is the director of the Poetry Cultural Center in Paterson, NJ which is part of the college I’m employed at. I have learned more in those weekends over the last nine years that you could learn in a classroom. She ignites our narratives with meaning and places value on our individual voices. Those workshops have been critical I believe to my growth.

7. What advice would you give others?
To turn a deaf ear to critics who aren’t there to see you succeed. Unfortunately I have sat in workshops where members were cruel in their responses to other members’ works. Walk away when you find yourself in groups that don’t offer support or have elitist views. Find a group that will want to see you grow and succeed. It’s critical to how you feel about yourself as a writer.

8. What is your favorite quotation? “ I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.”  --Nikki Giovanni

Christine Redman-Waldeyer is a poet and Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Passaic County Community College in New Jersey. She has published three poetry collections, "Frame by Frame", "Gravel", and "Eve Asks" (all with Muse-Pie Press) and has appeared in Schuylkill Valley Journal, The Texas Review, Verse Wisconsin, and others. Her latest credit includes Writing After Retirement: Tips from Successful Retired Writers (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) which she co-edited. Redman-Waldeyer founded Adanna, a literary journal that focuses on women's topics.

Carol Smallwood's most recent books include Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences (Lamar University Press, 2014); Divining the Prime Meridian (WordTech Communications, 2015); and Writing After Retirement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). Carol has founded, supports humane societies.