Poet Interview #51: Glen Armstrong

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.


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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 serves as an editor for The Peregrine Muse, Happy Hour Hallelujah, and Novelmasters.

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