Thursday, 29 August 2019

Stephen Furlong : part one

Stephen Furlong received his M.A. in Professional Writing from Southeast Missouri State University. He is the author of the chapbook What Loss Taught Me, which was published by Nostrovia! Press in Fall 2018. His poems, interviews, and book reviews have appeared in Louisiana Literature, Bone & Ink, and Full Stop, among others. He currently serves as a Staff Reviewer for LitStyle, a subset of the literary journal Five:2:One. He can be found on Twitter @StephenJFurlong.

How did you first engage with poetry?

I was fortunate to have a grade school English teacher who had a passion for poetry; her name was Mrs. Smircich and, for her class, we were required to memorize two poems and recite them in class. I cannot recall the poems I memorized, but there are two bright light bulbs of memory from that experience: we were forbade from memorizing Shel Silverstein and I was introduced to the first poem that truly shook my core from the inside—“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. While some of my classmates snickered at “breast” and “bosom”, the lull of the rhymes reminded me of prayer. Every time I am awe-struck by nature Kilmer’s spirit nods in approval. That year I ended up reading a lot of Robert Frost who was the first poet I ever loved. As it were, I had a healthy respect for nature poets so I found Emerson eventually, and before I knew it, my love of poetry had begun.

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