Young Creators of Pittsburgh: Emma Vescio

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing one of Pittsburgh’s brightest rising artists and poets, Emma Vescio. She had quite a bit to say. 


Claire: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Emma: Oh my goodness! Um, I’m Emma Vescio and I’m a junior at Pitt. I major in history of art and architecture, museum studies, and i focus in contemporary art and performance. I work at a few art organizations here in Pittsburgh, I run Honeybee Review with Indigo Baloch. I really love dogs, I love watching movies with my partner, and I love Thai food.

Claire: What are you currently up to? In life and work?

Emma: Currently, school is like the main priority so I'm being a huge dork trying to get a few articles published in scholarly journals. I’m pursuing a grant to go to London to make fun of the US government in relation to contemporary art. I’m trying to get an archival grant to do research on lgbtqia+ women in art. I’m also doing the honeybee stuff, and that's a lot sometimes, but I love everyone's poems and art so much and it makes my heart so happy.


Claire: Could you say a little about your latest chapbook and some of your latest art pieces?

Emma: I was working on my last chapbook when I was at a different school and it was our final project. I was also working on it anyways so it's kind of a compilation of both of those things. It’s probably the last time I’ll ever write about myself I think. It's all these poems where I’m trying to dissect past relationships and past like hurtful nature and it ends with me saying I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just, that I’m just done. Recently, I’ve been writing a lot of surrealist poetry: a lot about animals, bobby pins, cicadas. I'm just keeping all of it and revising it over and over again which is a new practice for me because usually I get really excited and I’m like here's a poem I wrote, here you go. And in relation to art, I’ve been into abstract pieces right now, which is funny because it’s like I’ve just ignored it for the majority of my life and it’s way harder than it looks.


Claire: Can you tell us a little about your work with The Honeybee Review?

Emma: Um, so. There's like no hierarchy we all do equal parts of work. But, it was Indigo Baloch and me around three months ago. We were at Glitter Box Theater and we saw these old bee magazines for beekeepers, and we were like, “that's amazing!” It was called something like honeybee magazine and we were wondered if anyone has taken this name for an art journal. It turns out Somebody did in like 2005 but it was archived, and it was done so we took the name! I think most of us are really tired, and most people are really tired of going to events and it’s all run by men and there's these bands and they're really loud and spooky, so we’re just trying to have poetry events focused on marginalized folk.

Claire: What music are you listening to right now?

Emma: Oh, man. I’m  listening to Big Thief a lot, they're coming to Pittsburgh soon, and they're really good. I listen to my good friend Jack Stauber who goes to Pitt with me. His album is called Pop Food and he will be really embarrassed that I gave him a shout out. I always love Bad Bad Not Good, they're a jazz band and they’re super good even though they say they're not.

Claire: What inspires you?

Emma: I think everyday life and people’s conversations inspire me most. Especially people on the bus. They're always saying weird shit. I wrote this poem the other day about this girl who had a bunch of Band-Aids on the backs of her ankles and I was like, “Why are you wearing flats? Don’t do this to yourself it hurts so bad!”  So I was kind of upset over that. Anywhere really inspires me, but sometimes it just comes to you and you're just surprised at what people are doing or saying in the public. So that's about it.

Claire: Favorite meal at the moment?

Emma: I just got my own kitchen in my first apartment instead of a meal plan so I have to learn how to cook and it's been fun. So pretty much all I’ve been doing is going on Eat Unique’s  website and going through the recipes they use. I like this one sandwich, it’s sourdough, mozzarella, tomatoes, cucumbers, balsamic, and pesto. It's a really good sandwich. I highly recommend it.

Claire: Do you have a writing routine?

Emma: It used to be really regimented, and like I would write every day. I would have a journal always with me because weird stuff just happens, and I actually had to get rid of my old journal months ago because i was like, writing actual journal entries and it was a bad time and it was making me really sad to go back through it. Now i have this little grid journal i’ve just been writing down weird thoughts when they happen, and I go back and look through it and write poems off of that.

Claire: How do you go about submitting your work?

Emma: I haven't done it in a while, but whenever i was I collect a lot of poems I’m really confident in and go through The Poetry Market, and find journals that matched my style. Right now it’s not like that. I think I’m gonna take a year to like really edit everything and figure it out.

Claire: What is one poet you wish more people knew about?

Emma: Right now Zachary Schomburg. He’s this surrealist poet and he just writes these really close to home situations but from a larger perspective. He’s really good. I really love him.

Claire: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass along to fellow creators?

Emma: Nothing you create it bad. Even if it's not up to your standards it's a really mindful thing to continuously work and accept where you are.

You can find Emma's work on her website here, or on social media! You can find The Honeybee Review here