Poet Interview #40 – Gary Beck

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 started writing poetry at age 16, mostly ponderous imitations of the English Romantics, Byron, Keats, Shelly. I had a difficult childhood and writing seemed to be an escape from harsh reality. I gradually began to develop my own voice. I wrote some short stories, got involved in theater and began to write plays, essays, then novels. Some of my favorite poets are Whitman, Poe, Eliot, Baudeair, Mallarme, many others.
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 am now in the stage of my life where I have accumulated a store of material that I draw on regularly. My concept of poetry changed drastically a number of years ago. I became much more concerned with issues, rather than traditional forms.
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 and Twitter, though not as active as I should be. I’m really pretty much a loner, except for a small group of editors who publish me, a few writer friends and theater people I worked with.
What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
If you are not called to poetry, compelled to create, or just a liberal arts dabbler, do something else. There are too many dilettantes now. If it is a serious commitment, read magazines, get to know editor(s) who have compatible taste and reach out to them.

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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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