Staff Profile: Nikkita Cohoon

One of my favorite parts of being the online editor for Black Ocean is the chance to talk with our authors and staff members. I love learning what drives them and how they work. This week, it’s my turn to answer a few questions about my role at Black Ocean. With these staff profiles, we hope to give our fans a little insight into how we run our press, the type of people we are, the things we love. I hope you’re enjoying the series! Nikki

How I got involved:

I discovered Black Ocean while I was living in Northern Michigan watching people shovel off the snow that threatened to cave in their rooftops, requesting books I’d only heard hints of be sent to the small library in town. I loved the vibrancy and richness I found with the books from Black Ocean, and I continued to follow what the press was doing until a year later when the online editor position opened up. It’s been so wonderful to get to know the staff and to be involved with projects I care so much about.

What I do and why I love it:

The position has developed over time to include updating all things virtual—the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and our monthly newsletter. Some of it is sharing content from other parts of the web, but the best part is the content I help create, often through collaboration with staff or authors.

Working on the blog especially has been a fun challenge, because we really want it to have the feel of a virtual community space; so I am always thinking of different features to add that will help bring about that sense. Having an excuse to reach out to poets I deeply admire and ask them questions is great—I’m constantly surprised and excited by the things I learn from our writers. And there really is such camaraderie and collaboration with everyone—authors giving me ideas and suggestions, initiating projects of their own, having conversations with us, with each other—so much wonderful exchange.

What it’s like to work virtually with staff and authors:

It’s kind of a given when working on a blog that a lot of correspondence will be through email, but what’s been really fun for me is the few times we do get to see each other. I started working with Black Ocean before I’d met anyone, so when I went to AWP last year, I was meeting Janaka and Carrie and Ashley in person for the first time, and our authors too. It made returning home to continue the work at my computer a little more dimensional and engaging.