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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight- Nichole Zachary

By April 5, 2024No Comments

Writing looks different to everyone. For some, it’s a necessary evil of life. For others, it’s the bane of existence and all that’s important. For poet Nichole Zachary, it’s introspective and expressive.

I met Nichole at the Pennington Student Achievement Center (PSAC) on a cold winter morning. I was late and slightly embarrassed (never underestimate impromptu traffic). However, to Zachary, it was immediately forgotten. She gave a warm greeting with her cool and collected nature. 

Nichole is one of Brushfire’s stars, being featured in the last three issues of Brushfire’s physical journal. She’s majoring in English/Creative Writing and minoring in Women’s Studies with plans to graduate in May.

“I guess it’s ruminating,” Zachary says. “So I ruminate a lot, and then I just feel the need to get it out onto paper to stop thinking about it.”

To Zachary, poetry is a way to get her mind off something. In Brushfire’s most recent edition, Zachary’s piece, entitled ‘Loving You Is The Easiest Thing I Do’ was inspired by a conversation with her friends4r. The words flow, and Zachary scribbles.

“Sometimes poetry can just be, ‘Here’s a bunch of thoughts in succession, I’m just going to put them down to paper and see what happens,’” Zachary says. “Sometimes it works, and sometimes it really, really does not.”

Many of Zachary’s ideas come from everyday interactions or tasks. She often garners inspiration from bits of everyday conversation or concepts floating around in her brain. One of her poems, titled ‘There Is A Sink With All My Dishes Inside It’ is about daily life and what might be in a person’s brain (this poem can be found in Edition 75, Volume 2 of Brushfire). The title may seem abstract, but Nichole actually thought of it when considering monotonous, never-ending chores– things like dishes, laundry, and groceries.

With this in mind, Zachary doesn’t do too much editing. Moving lines around or formatting the tense properly is about the extent of it. Zachary wants readers to understand her poems as they are and believes that editing too much takes away from the poem. However, she knows that sometimes reworking is required to let the poem reach its full potential.

“I think there’s a point where we think emotional vulnerability means talent,” Zachary says. “I feel like it kinda takes away from how important craft is.”

In terms of poetic inspiration, Zachary’s got them all. Some favorites include Ocean Vuong and Adrienne Rich, who both write poetry focusing mostly on queer and lesbian experiences. She also likes Ada Limón, who was appointed to be U.S. Poet Laureate in July of 2022. Much of Ada Limón’s and Mary Oliver’s (an older favorite) focus on nature and how the human body connects with it. 

Going forward, Zachary plans to continue creating poetry and being involved in the various poetry-based events at UNR and Brushfire. As previously stated, she’s graduating in May and afterward plans on attending UNR grad school and studying poetry. She also plans on serving as a teaching assistant for an English 101 class next semester, hoping to connect with the students through her love of writing and poetry. Maybe she’ll even bless Brushfire with her writing for a fourth time. 

Nichole Zachary’s writing can be found on Instagram @nicspoetry.