Poet Interview #61: Darren C. Demaree

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Who/what first inspired you to begin? Who are some your favorite writers and artists (past and/or contemporary)? 

I started writing poetry in high school.  When I was in college Kim Addonizio, Robert Creeley, and Charles Simic were my favorites.  Right now I am obsessed with Aase Berg’s work.

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? 

I’m always taking notes when I’m reading.  I also like to map out large projects, and plan out how the poems can interplay with each other.  This allows me to work different arcs and patterns into my larger sequences.  In regards to writing every day, which I do, the planning and reading are great aids in being able to steadily produce new work.  My goal is not to be prolific, but to be constant in my practice.

What does poetry mean to you, and has your idea of what it represents changed over the course of time? Where do you see it going in the future?

My understanding of what poetry can do is always expanding.  That’s why I’m always trying to read new work by poets I’m unfamiliar with. I don’t know where poetry is going, but the more poetry the better.  I can appreciate the work that just lives on the page, but what folks are doing with digital/video poetry is incredible.  I think poetry is big enough to accommodate all of these avenues.

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

In terms of writing, I use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about recent publications and spread the word when books are coming out.  Other than that I just use them for the social aspects of it.  AWP was last week, and one of the best parts of going to a conference like that is getting to meet so many of the poets you become friendly with online.

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

There’s a great community of poets where I live in Columbus, Ohio.  I don’t really workshop with anyone anymore, but there are a half-dozen different reading series in town that I try to go to when I can.  I came back from AWP with a large load of books to work through.  Right now I am reading “Night Badly Written” by Victor Rodriguez Nunez.

As 2017 begins rolling along, what are your expectations for the year ahead? Do you have any new books/projects in the works that you’re particularly excited about?

I have a collection of prose poems entitled “Unfinished Murder Ballads” that will be coming out at the end of summer from Jellyfish Highway Press.  I’m really excited to see how that book takes shape.  I’m also under contract at 8th House Publishing for a collection of poems about the life and death of Sam Cooke called “Lady, You Shot Me”.  I imagine that book will be out some time in 2018.

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

I think you should write every day.  I think you should submit your work all of the time.  Rejections come to all of us, but if you believe in your work then you won’t let someone else dictate how you go about it.  The best poets are lifers, and they explore and produce new works all of the time.  Life and rejection will always show up to get in the way of those explorations, but if you remain dedicated you can overcome.  Try to work all of the time.  Try to be a good member of your writing community.  Find joy in the process as often as you possibly can.  Celebrate whenever your work is accepted.


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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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