A few months ago I found myself thinking about how to be more involved in the poetry community in a way that felt meaningful. I had been mulling over ideas for some sort of collaborative process and eventually came up with the idea for If You Want To.

I am interested in the idea of community and influence among writers–whatever the forms–and so conceived this site as a place where poets help shape the interviews that take place by recommending peers, mentors, or others whose poetry they are interested in or whose work helped shape their own poetics or even poetry.

I hope that each interview will, in some way, be a letter to the next poet–a place possibly of interest, reference, argument. At the end of each interview, I’ll ask the writer to propose 2 or 3 writers whose work she is interested in, and in that way, hopefully the contours of this correspondence will begin to take shape.

It is my intention to focus largely on women writers: If You Want To emerges out of a long-held desire to forge female friendships, as well as the chance to engage writers and artists whose work I deeply admire and whose intelligence and vividness inspire me.

–Jessica Murray, April 2013