Poet Interview #33 – Ryan Hardgrove

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?

I’ll be 30 in August. So, I’ve been writing for 8 years. I used to write when I was young, before girls and booze and drugs. Then I stopped until I was about 22. I was traveling a lot for this new out of college engineer gig. I ended up quitting less than two years in. There were a handful of factors playing into the decision to quit, but mostly because I started reading and writing and talking with a different group of people.

In those lonely hotel rooms, I found Bukowski and Fante and Kerouac, peddling in the streets. They convinced me to quit my job actually. The biggest reason, absolutely. I wish I could write novels like Steinbeck; he is the best. But, instead, my words come out in these page long sentences, slicing here and there for effect.

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 write as often as possible. I try to dump my experience after being processed as quickly as possible. But, when I write well, it’s fast and hurts and forces me to ride along walls in my tiny house until I make it to the basement where I’ll hammer away for a while. When it happens like that, it’s always good—feels good anyway.

I try not to focus on an idea of anything. But poetry should be (if nothing else), real. It should be tasty too; it should make you wish you wrote it. It should bring you to your feet in the middle of the night. Writing poetry does that more for me. Reading poetry used to do it for me. Now it just makes me write.

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

I am on Facebook. I have my writer page there. Mostly because it’s free and I’m lazy. I don’t utilize social media enough. Unfortunately, only being 29, I have an old soul—or so I’ve been told.

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

My favorite writer around here is John Korn, around here being Pittsburgh. I send him my shit, my dad, my musician friend, a few other real people who domesticate their thoughts to a computer a few hours a day.

I read children’s books to my son at night. The last book I read (quickly and truly) was probably Steinbeck “In Dubious Battle,” great story. There is always a doc character in Steinbeck and he always longs to join the protagonist in their dubious quest but is bound by the law of science and figures why pick a side while we burn down the world.

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

Take advice from the people in your life you love and respect and trust. Not from me. But don’t write if isn’t real. But you already know that.


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I am a dreamer, as well as a doer, who lives in the North Georgia mountains. I started my publishing journey August of 2013, have had moderate success, but my utmost passion is my "daytime" job, which is working with adults who are constantly striving to better their lives as they obtain the GED credential.

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