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 was born to a working class family in Pontiac, Michigan. I remember my mother being kind enough and patient enough to “take dictation” when I had captions in mind for Crayola drawings, so the instinct must have been there at a pretty young age.
My grandfather was a musician. It surprised me, actually, to learn that most people didn’t make learning songs and then learning to create songs a priority.
I am consistently amazed by Dara Wier and Wallace Stevens. Sara Nicholson is a current favorite.
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?
Lately, I do my best to get out of bed, brew a cup of coffee and improvise something as the rational mind takes over. Revising and critical thinking comes later.
I think I’ve always wanted poetry to be this thing not of the writer but next to the writer, something one invites down to earth for a brief visit. I think my ability to attract a poem without gunking it up with my own ego has changed for the better. At least I hope it has.
Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?
I stay in touch with other writers and editors via Facebook. It’s a strange fit in that I’m friends with literary folk and folk who would no sooner write a poem than sprout wings and fly away. I sometimes get a message from my aunt after linking to a poem that’s been published, for example, that makes it clear that she’s proud of me but has no idea what I’m taking about in the poem.
Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?
I lead a writing group at the Waterford Township Public Library. We read, write and talk about poetry once a month. Each spring the library mounts an extensive outdoor poetry exhibit called poetry leaves. Anyone reading this is invited and encouraged to submit a poem for inclusion. (It may be a few more weeks until the submittable portal is open, but here it is:)
I’ve been reading Bill Berkson’s Expect Delays.
What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
Support small presses. There’s a fit for you out there.