Victoria Kornick (’16): Discovering Lilith

Serendipity can often play a huge role in a residency experience. For poet Victoria Kornick, a random book she found on a shelf, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker has influenced almost everything she’s written since arriving at Saltonstall. “This has been the best writing tool I’ve ever had!” she says with a laugh.

Victoria writes frequently about feminism and the body, but she was not familiar with the mythical figure Lilith, Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden, until (current photographer Fellow) Rachel noticed the book sitting on Victoria’s desk. “Oh, do you know about Lilith?” Rachel asked.

Fascinated by the character, Victoria wrote what she describes as a “Lilith poem” the next day. The Garden of Eden then carried over into an essay. She was so happy with it, she submitted it to a journal she admired. It was quickly accepted. Gardens began seeping into more poems.

Victoria came to Saltonstall planning to revise a manuscript, but having the opportunity and time to create new work pushed her in another direction. “Letting myself make new work just made everything better,” she says, referring to the frustration she was feeling revising completed poems. “When I first got here, I made this list of goals, things I wanted to accomplish. But I’ve been so productive I haven’t needed the gratification of checking them off. I just got so excited about these Lilith poems!” she says. “I think these will be a huge part of my manuscript now.”

(Image on top courtesy of the poet)