Poet Interview #19 – Michael Keshigian

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?

My career path is music, a performer and teacher in the symphonic genre; it left me little to no time to write. My creative urges were pretty much satiated in that realm. Though I read quite a bit of literature, including poetry, the desire to write occurred after reading the works of the Beats, mostly Ferlinghetti and Corso. The style was appealing, it propelled me to start expressing myself verbally. That group is still among my favorites, though I enjoy reading any author who has something to say and says it well.

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?

I try to allot a designated time on a daily basis to work out ideas then write them down in a way that I feel captures my intention. Like any art form, the muse is secondary to the technique.

Successful creative output is a skill developed over time, coupled with the ability to make it appealing to readers. My perspective regarding poetry, music or any other creative endeavor changed when I realized that the muse is vital, but the song will not be heard nor the words read if it lacks the ability to motivate an audience.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

No. Between writing, performing and teaching, my time is pretty much used up and whatever minutes I might have straggling around, I’d rather use creating rather than just communicating about it. I do keep a web page, but that’s pretty much it.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

For the most part, I keep to myself due in large part to my performance schedule. I do have a few virtual relationships with individuals and poetry societies across the country with whom I periodically exchange/share work. What I am reading varies quite a bit with my mood; re-reading HDT’s Walden, poems of W.D. Snodgrass, and George Carlin’s Last Words.

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?

Most importantly, you must be true to yourself, seek out the right market for your work, and be persistent. Look at rejections as constructive criticism and continually work on your delivery. Chances are it is not your idea that has prompted the refusal. Like the Roman poet Lucretius wrote,  “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Keep submitting.


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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott is a member of The Southern Collective Experience; he also serves as an editor for Walking Is Still Honest Press, The Blue Mountain Review, The Peregrine Muse, and Novelmasters.

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