Saturday 30 June 2018

Conyer Clayton : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

Honing in on the thickest meat. I generally do not begin a poem with a specific purpose in mind, rather, my inner world/truth reveals itself to me as I write, so figuring just precisely where the truest kernal lies is the hardest part for me.

Friday 29 June 2018

Darren C. Demaree : part four

How important is music to your poetry?

The music and energy of the poem can be a driving force of the work.  The presence or absence of the music in each poem is one of the first feelings the reader picks up on.  It can be a tricky proposition depending on the tone of the piece, but if you can nail the music of it the poem might transcend the narrative, the landscape, the abstraction, etc.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Molly Cross-Blanchard : part five

Why is poetry important?

Rather than comment on why poetry is important for the world and why everyone should read poetry (which they should, btw), I’m going to approach this question a bit selfishly. Poetry is important to me because it’s a way of turning my thoughts and feelings into nuggets of truth that I can digest. I was always intrigued by journaling as a kid. All my girlfriends journaled, drew hearts around their crushes’ names, slandered their parents with pink and green gel pens. And I did, too (this was often a sleepover activity), but something about it always felt false. I couldn’t connect to the words in my Lizzie Maguire diary like my friends seemed to; there was something about what I was feeling that just wouldn’t transfer to the page. When I started seriously writing poetry, it was like I’d discovered a life hack for working through my own shit without having to go to a therapist. Poetry is emotion magic.

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda : part one

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of the full-length poetry collection Flashbacks & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press and the poetry chapbook So Many Flowers, So Little Time from Red Mare Press.

His poetry has been featured in The Yellow Chair Review, Frontier Poetry, poeticdiversity, The Wild Word, The Fem, Rigorous, Palette Poetry, The Yellow Chair Review and Lunch Ticket’s Special Issue: Celebrating 20 Years of Antioch University Los Angeles MFA in Creative Writing.

One of his poems was named the winner of Subterranean Blue Poetry’s 2016 "The Children of Orpheus" Anthology Contest and two of his poems “Buzz Me” and “Estranged Fruit” were nominated for Best of the Net in 2015 and 2016.

Adrian is an LA Poet who has a BA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and he is also a graduate of the MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and their cat Woody Gold. You can connect with Adrian on his website:

Photo credit: Rachael A. Warecki

1.      What are you working on?

Currently, I am working on a manuscript on poems for my Mami. My mother passed away in November. It’s been so difficult because for years she was a champion of my poetry. She gave me the gift of la poesia. And now that my first chapbook, So Many Flowers, So Little Time has been published for Red Mare and my full-length poetry collection Flashes & Verses…Becoming Attractions just released, published by Unsolicited Press, she is not here to see my books come to life. For years, I sent my Mami poems for her birthday and Christmas. My Papi gave me an envelope of those poems and I’ve written so many more since her passing, I am putting them together in a book in her honor. Still needs work. Mother’s Day was tough for me. So many milestones of mourning left for the first year. It is slowly coming together but not ready.

            In the meantime, I have two manuscripts of erotic love poems that I am editing and ready to shop around. Poems that would be perfect for couples to share. The themes of these collections reflect Lawrence Ferlinghetti who once famously said, “Poetry is a naked woman, a naked man, and the distance between them.” This is where my creative voice comes in, trying to reach my reader somewhere between imagination, fantasy and desire.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

MLA Chernoff : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I recently finished reading Divya Victor’s Kith and I’m honestly speechless.

When I’m not close-reading Joe Rosenblatt and A.M. Klein’s respective bodies of work (they’re the focus of the first chapter of my dissertation), I’m mostly reading friendos and/or acquaintances. The Metatron catalogue, for instance, is brimming with talented poets whom’st’d’ve I really admire, such as Liz Bowen, Alex Manley, and Sennah Yee. Bowen’s Sugarblood brought me to tears AND fears when I read it a few weeks ago. 

I’ve been revisiting a lot of work by Adeena Karasick. I highly recommend her Gap Riot Press chapbook, Salomé: Woman of Valor, which I felt the need to read quite a few times. Stylistically, it is in difference to older texts like Genrecide and Mmewars, in the sense that it’s hyperbolically musical, and (for me personally) acts as a kind of guide to some of Karasick’s older works.

It wouldn’t be surprising if they were already sold out, but I’m really excited to get a hold of Dani Spinosa’s Chant Uhm (sound poem for Kathleen Hanna) and Incessantly (for Mariah Carey), as well as Kate Siklosi’s MAY DAY, each of which are available through no press.

I’m obsessed with Eric Schmaltz’s Surfaces––it’s a sensuous rapture, sounding touch and touching sound, neatly packaged into various states of visual disarray. You know?

Joshua Whitehead’s full-metal indigiqueer is, idk, one of the best books I’ve ever read? Just… WOW.

Whenever I’m anxious, I pick up Darcie Wilder’s literally show me a healthy person and skip to a random page. It’s a really good book to vape to.

Kristin Garth : coda

How did you first engage with poetry?

I remember the first poet who I ever saw performing their work.  I was in early elementary school, and we all came to the cafeteria to hear a poet.  Even then I guess I had pre-conceived notions of what a poet was.  I expected someone professorial.  Instead it was a man who looked like he came down off a mountain.  He was in fact from the Ozarks.  I looked for his book which I still have somewhere in my library, and I was unable to locate it to tell you his name.  I was just smitten with him.  I loved watching him own his identity which was so unique and tied to his place, his unique experience.  He was a performer and an individual.  It taught me that you didn’t have to be from a big city or slick or pretentious to be a poet.  I am from a small town, Gulf Breeze, Florida, and he was from a smaller place than me, but he was a traveling, performing poet.  You just have to do the easiest and hardest thing in the world: be yourself.  A person who can do that, I think, can own any room or microphone or page.  You have to tell your story like it’s the most important story in the world.  If you do it right, it is.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

M. Stone : part two

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

I didn’t start seriously writing poetry until college, and today, I think I’m much more flexible with myself regarding what constitutes a poem than I was when I was learning about form and meter. I primarily write free verse, and I’m reaching a point where I don’t feel like my poems are less than if they veer into narrative or confessional territory. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with poetry being accessible.

Monday 25 June 2018

Billeh Nickerson : part one

Billeh Nickerson is the author of five books including the City of Vancouver Book Award nominated Artificial Cherry. He is the former editor of PRISM international and Event, two of Canada’s most respected literary journals, and a co-editor of Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets. He is also a former writer-in-residence at Queen’s, the University of the Fraser Valley, and at the Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. He is permanent faculty and former Chair of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Creative Writing department in Surrey, BC. He lives—and loves—in Vancouver.

How did you first engage with poetry?

My high school Writing 12 class, where I’d write poems that I would sometimes read out, impromptu, to people in the cafeteria. In retrospect, these pieces were strange hybrids of stand-up (RIP Joan Rivers), youthful angst and a poet struggling to understand and develop form.

When I started at college I was fortunate to work with Jane Southwell Munro, who helped me understand more of the possibilities of poetry. I believe she and Lorna Crozier, who I worked with at the University of Victoria, have had the most profound impact on my work. I feel that much of my understanding on craft and poetic density stems from them.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Megan Burns : part two

How important is music to your poetry?

I do most of my writing via channeling, which for me a form of meditation where I try to be clear enough to pick up what is around me that needs to be manifested into words. Most of it is based off sound; I am listening to how a line wants to sound rather than what the line says as far as sense in a thinking mind way because I believe we are able to translate poetry in a different way in our brains than we do an article teaching us a theory or directions on how to build a desk. Poetry enters the heart more than the head and I try to hear the vibrational resonance of how the energy of the piece needs to be performed. I write specifically about music as well; there’s a section in my last book where I deconstruct Wuthering Heights and one of my methods was assigning a Bob Dylan song to each chapter and then reading the chapter listening to the song and writing through that sound and text mash-up.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Conyer Clayton : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I know a poem is finished when it stops screaming at me, and starts singing. Or humming. Sometimes whispering.

Friday 22 June 2018

Darren C. Demaree : part three

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

Aase Berg, Kazim Ali, Ruth Awad, Maggie Smith, Hanif Abdurraqib, Charles Simic, Wanda Coleman…All of these poets have played a major role in my thoughts on poetry in the last couple of years.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Molly Cross-Blanchard : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

The most difficult aspect of writing poetry, for me, is finding that productive sweet spot in which you’re energized enough to put your butt in the chair and type some words, but not so energized that you’re unable to be introspective. Introspection is my jam. I haven’t yet figured out how to rely on my process and craft to get me through a scheduled writing session, so for now I follow my own erratic inner poetry clock.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

MLA Chernoff : part three

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

While I was on a writing hiatus during my early years of grad school, a famous white cishet male poet––who will remain anonymous here––drunkenly exclaimed that I’m “too ironic” for the “revolution.” Like, whose fuckn revolution do u think ur a part of, mate?! We’re both drunk at a Wayzgoose, u absolute fiend!!!!

Not long after this encounter, a begrudging fascination with the meaning of “irony” (amongst other things) prompted me to start writing again. The experience made me reevaluate the role of laughter and quirkiness in poetry, especially those poetries that claim to be experimental and/or highly politicized. “Comedy” is now integral to my process, though I don’t think of myself as a comedian in any capacity. Rather, I’m inclined to use writing as a medium which can accentuate the differences and similarities between irony and a more “earnest” humour (if there is such a thing).

Just between you, me, and Deleuze, I see irony as narcissistic––a means of maintaining the privileged position of the speaker/writer who knows better than you––while humour is a kind of groundless self-deprecation that rapidly and vigorously calls something into question using absurdity, instead of attempting to elevate a specific subject position or POV. I guess I’m thinking more along the lines of Sianne Ngai’s conception of zaniness. Most of the time, I feel as though my pomes are straddling the thin line between these modalities, but PLEASE let it be noted that all of my writing comes from the humour in my heart and the bile in my spleen. Frick me up tho: most of delet this was basically written to spite one mediocre white man, i.e. to spite all of them.

Kristin Garth : part six

Why is poetry important?

Poetry is my whole life.  I didn’t do it for a long time.  Gave it up for many, many years.  I was living life and reading like crazy.  I feel that my experiences and what I read and observed, it gets experienced again in a contemplative, analytical way in poetry.  Poems are important because I think they help us both relive experience in its most meaningful way, devoid of the extraneous.  I love revisiting life in this way, even the dark aspects of life and learning from them, reminding myself of how far I have come and what victories I have made.  Poetry is a celebration even when it’s sad, I believe.  It marks a journey even when it’s dark and bleak.  Sometimes my saddest poems both break my heart and make me feel a sense of happiness that other people might not reading them because I am past them.  I survived it.  When you write something that is bleak and painful, and it makes you feel it in your bones, remember, but you’re past it – it’s a wonderful thing.  It’s a reminder of the complexity of life and the journey.  That’s why I think poetry is important.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

M. Stone : part one

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry and fiction while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, Star 82 Review, UCity Review, and numerous other journals. Find her on Twitter @writermstone and at

How did you first engage with poetry?

My sixth grade teacher read the class one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, and I was an immediate fan. I went home and told my mom all about this story, and then discovered that she too had been a fan of Poe’s when she was in school. So we went to the bookstore, and she bought me a big volume of his collected stories and poems, and then she read “The Raven” aloud to me. I was eleven and honestly had no idea what the poem meant, but I loved the cadence of it, and the music in the verses. Then I began writing my own poems—really bad ones—generally as a way of expressing adolescent angst.

Monday 18 June 2018

Joelle Barron : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Books by my friends and fellow UBC grads, which is so wonderful! Ellie Sawatzky’s chapbook, Rhinocerotic. Mallory Tater’s, This Will Be Good. Kyla Jamieson posts full poems as well as excerpts on her Instagram, @eddy__lines. I love her work, and also love her educational posts about concussion recovery. I’m eagerly awaiting John Stintzi’s The Machete Tourist and Laura Ritland’s East and West to arrive in the mail!

Sunday 17 June 2018

Martha Silano : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

Very important. It’s definitely one of the three things I pay attention to while drafting and revising, right up there with meaning and clarity.

Megan Burns : part one

Megan Burns is the publisher at Trembling Pillow Press ( She also hosts the Blood Jet Poetry Reading Series in New Orleans and is the co-founder of the New Orleans Poetry Festival ( She has been most recently published in Jacket Magazine, Callaloo, New Laurel Review, Dream Pop, and Diagram. Her poetry and prose reviews have been published in Tarpaulin Sky, Gently Read Lit, Big Bridge, and Rain Taxi. She has three books: Memorial + Sight Lines (2008), Sound and Basin (2013) and Commitment (2015) published by Lavender Ink. She has three recent chapbooks: Dollbaby (Horseless Press, 2013), i always wanted to start over (Nous-Zot Press, 2014) and her Twin Peaks chap, Sleepwalk With Me (Horse Less Press, 2016). Her fourth collection, BASIC PROGRAMMING, was published by Lavender Ink in 2018.

What are you working on?

I just released my fourth book, BASIC PROGRAMMING, a book length meditation on attachment, family trauma, suicide and complicated grief. I wrote it in two years as an experiment in shifting my own grief and as a program to shift grief in others. The book I just started researching and writing in the last month continues some of that work addressing how addiction works, and not just addiction in the individual at the level of a particular object or behavioral symptom but as an aspect of being human: That we are all born into a world that teaches addiction to suffering as a way of being human. I’m interested in how this manifests in our current culture but also how this intersects with texts like The Upanishads in addressing how do we transcend suffering.

Saturday 16 June 2018

Conyer Clayton : part one

Conyer Clayton is an Ottawa based writer who aims to live with compassion, gratitude, and awe. She has 3 chapbooks out or forthcoming: Undergrowth (bird, buried press, 2018), Mitosis (In/Words Magazine and Press, August 2018), and For the Birds. For the Humans. (battleaxe press, 2018). Her poetry/music collaborative album with Nathanael Larochette, If the river stood still, will be released August 2018. Her work appears in ARC, Prairie Fire, The Fiddlehead, The Maynard, In/Words, Puddle of Sky Press, Coven Editions, Bywords, Transom, and others. She won Arc's 2017 Diana Brebner Prize, 3rd place in Prairie Fire's 2017 Poetry Contest, and honorable mention in The Fiddlehead's 2018 poetry prize. She is a member of the sound poetry ensemble Quatuor Gualuor. Check out for updates on her endeavors.

What are you working on?

I am currently working on a manuscript of surrealist prose poems inspired by dreams, as well as another prose poetry manuscript about reincarnation. I am also working on a longer manuscript with poems about the body; our bodies the notion of wellness, our bodies as symbols of death, our bodies as manifestations of our mental state, our bodies and ownership or lack thereof.

Friday 15 June 2018

Darren C. Demaree : part two

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

It definitely has.  Exploring and experimenting with different kinds of poetry is incredibly important to the development of any poet.  Once you find your “voice”, once you start to write your best poems, I think you have to find a way to mess with the process.  If you don’t keep trying new things, you’ll eventually just start to parrot your old work.  Trying new topics, new forms, new rules or zero rules, can twist the tether of your work in fascinating ways.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Molly Cross-Blanchard : part three

How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with?

If you don’t have a writers group to lean on, get one ASAP. Working with my group in Winnipeg (lookin’ at you, Hunters Writing Collective) taught me how to write poetry and how to navigate the literary business world. We still keep in touch and share our work even though we’re scattered across several continents. On top of this support group, as I’m sure many other writers can echo, I send my poems to my mother for expert, completely unbiased feedback. Though recently, my poems have been more and more about sex and vaginas, so Mom hasn’t seen much of the chapbook yet. Sorry in advance, Mom. And Dad. Oh no, Dad...

Wednesday 13 June 2018

MLA Chernoff : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever finished a pome tbh; the crux of my work comes from fragmented aphorisms, one-liners, and half-thoughts which I later expand into, like, two thirds of a thought; I’m always inclined to rewrite older pieces and turn them on their heads. As a result, I have a horrible work ethic that demands external deadlines, lest I keep writing the same lines over and over again. Ultimately, I’m hoping that a pome will one day finish ME!!!

Kristin Garth : part five

How important is music to your poetry? 

Rhythm and rhyme are such a part of songs.  I write sonnets, mostly, which one derivation of that word is song.  It’s like a little song.  They have a great rhythm to them and a rhyme scheme that I enjoy the way I enjoy a good song.  It’s one of the reasons I have come to enjoy performing them so much.  When they work well, they have a lot of musicality.  I think they sound great out loud.

I also love music.  I love to listen to instrumental music, electronica, witch house when I write.  I write a lot of poetry with dark themes, and music can really put me there, bring me into the drama, the mood.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Cameron Anstee : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Jack Davis, Faunics
Anne Carson, If Not, Winter
Bardia Sinaee, Salamander Festival
Nelson Ball, Walking
Noelle Kocot, Phantom Pains of Madness
A whole pile of recent chapbooks from the likes of Puddles of Sky Press (Kingston), bird, buried press (Peterborough), Coven Editions (Ottawa), Gap Riot Press (Toronto), Rahila’s Ghost Press (Vancouver), above/ground press (Ottawa), and on and on.

Monday 11 June 2018

Joelle Barron : part four

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

To be honest, the first book of poetry I owned by a living person was Jewel’s A Night Without Armour. However anyone (including myself, now) might feel about the quality of those poems, my thirteen-year-old self learned what line breaks were, and that poems didn’t have to rhyme. That feels like as important a moment as any in my literary career.

Sunday 10 June 2018

Martha Silano : part four

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?

I go to my first poetry loves—Robert Bly, William Stafford, the Beats, Ann Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Lucille Clifton, Emily Dickinson. Actually, it depends what I am working on, what my soul yearns for that day or week or month. Last winter I re-read pretty much all of Bob Hicok’s poems. Right after that, I began reading The Poems of Emily Dickinson from start to finish. I’ve been reading her poems since I was fourteen, but I wanted to read them in the order she wrote them—to enter her poetry ‘workshop.’ I follow my bliss in this regard, revisiting books that have spoken to me deeply and resonantly.

Elisabeth Horan : part six

How does a poem begin?

At 3:00 am with a line. Wakes me up, repeats itself… “there is Wellbutrin in my Brain”... forces me to get up and give it a life. Does not rest until it is finished. The reason I usually have eye twitches and anxiety. :)

Saturday 9 June 2018

Cassidy McFadzean : part five

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

Lucie Brock-Broido is a poet with a singular vision and aesthetic. I was so grateful to encounter her work early in my career, and realize that I could write to my obsessions and follow my curiosities wherever they make take me.

Friday 8 June 2018

Wayde Compton : part five

Why is poetry important?

It thrives outside the market, so it can set right the relational distortions of capitalism ungrudgingly.

Darren C. Demaree : part one

Darren C. Demaree is the author of eight poetry collections, most recently Two Towns Over, which was selected the winner of the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press.  He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.  He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

What are you working on?

I’m currently eighty or so poems into a sequence called “bone requires bone”.  I wanted to find a way to address the world of abuse and abusers.  I have had my own experiences with violent men, and it felt like a long meditation on the subject might be cathartic for me and maybe for others that have had similar experiences.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Molly Cross-Blanchard : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

A poem is never finished!... says every poetry professor ever.  Though there is some merit to this mode of thinking, I do believe you can get a poem very very very close to finished. I usually consider a poem ready for public consumption when I go back to it several months after the last time I tinkered with it and read the whole way through without cringing even once. Those are really good days.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Sennah Yee : part five

How does a poem begin?

From a place of anger, delight, or confusion – and sometimes a mix of all three. Oh, and always from a place of procrastination!

MLA Chernoff : part one

MLA Chernoff (@citation_bb) thanks u for visiting their profile. A recovering flat-earther, MLA now lives a quiet LIEf in “Toronto” (awful condotown), where they collect and care for rare fidget spinners, which isn’t just a fad. They are a PhD candidate at The Neoliberal University of York University; the velocity of this bio is their dissertation––a morose serendipity in the key of “ooooo that’s a spicy discourse!!!” MLA’s debut collection of pomes, delet this, was recently published by Hybrid Heaven and is available everywhere fine books are sold (but hopefully not Indigo, I really don’t know lmao). If you’re in MTL, you can pick it up at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly.

Photo credit: Syd Lazarus

What are you working on?

Literally just myself. And my dissertation lmao *** shrug emoji holding multiple copies of Das Kapital and Let Us Compare Mythologies in each stinky hand ***

I’m hoping to start and finish a full-length collection of new, (un)original pomes this summer.

Kristin Garth : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

If I don’t have an idea, it’s getting started.  Coming up with that idea out of what sometimes can feel like a void – or a distraction of the mundane that conspires against the kind of silence it takes, at least me, to be able to write.  I have to be alone.  Not physically alone in a room.  I actually like to write in coffee shops, but I need headphones.  I need music without words because I can’t have other people’s words in my head while I’m writing.  I’m really focused – or maybe I am just easily distracted.  But that’s my method.  I like to be in physical proximity to people but buried in music and my ideas.

If I have the idea, the hardest part is coming up with a good first line.  If I have a good first line and an idea, I am gold.  I have a map to where I’m going.  I know I’m going to get there.  I just have to wait it out and listen to the voice because it’s happening.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Cameron Anstee : part four

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

I have admiringly read the interviews at Sachiko Murakami’s The Hardest Thing About Being a Writer, and don’t want to repeat things that have already been so articulately discussed there. So first, I would direct anyone that hasn’t already to visit and read. On top of these things, for me, I struggle with patience (impatience), volume of projects, and time. I’m learning to sit on my work, and learning that it tends to improve when I do, but I’m also conscious of how long the first book took to write, and trying to be at peace with seeing that I might not write too many (if I even manage to write a second—the first feels like such a surprise now that it exists, I’m not quite sure how it happened). I also always try to keep in mind that the writing is just one small part of the community/continuum of small press action and people that I consider myself lucky to be connected to. There is a responsibility to be an engaged member of such communities as more than just a writer—you need to contribute in other ways. Be a chapbook maker, or run a reading series, or show up at readings and buy chapbooks, or research and write literary histories, or be a bookseller, or write reviews, or do amazing things like the CWILA count, or run magazines, or organize book fairs, etc. etc. etc. You need to find and make space for your own writing, but you also need to try to show up when you’re able and to do these other vital things. I run a very modest chapbook operation, but one that still requires a fair bit of time, and one that I feel like I never have enough time to even begin to make a dent in the list of poets I want to publish. I’m really trying to actively think about how much time I can give the press, and give my poetry, and find some kind of balance with and between the non-poetry things in my life. I see no way to write in isolation of these other things, and it is a negotiation I’m trying to figure out on a daily basis.

Monday 4 June 2018

Joelle Barron : part three

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I don’t know if I ever feel like my poems are really finished. There’s always something I’ll change or want to change later. I used to feel like they were finished if someone published them in a journal; now I’m not even sure if they’re finished once they’re in a book!

Sunday 3 June 2018

Martha Silano : part three

How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with?

My work enters the world in myriad ways. Sometimes I am sitting in an airport and I hear something over the loudspeaker—While maintenance deals with an avionics problem …—so I get out my notebook and jot that down, then continue writing what occurs to me. Or my yoga instructor says “please refrain from efforting.” Efforting? So I go home and try to write a poem about efforting, or lack thereof. I also belong to two writing groups. They’re not critique groups; we generate new work using writing prompts—set a timer for 20 minutes, share aloud what we’ve written. These groups have been very helpful for increasing productivity and striving to make my work more enticing/lively/entertaining (having an instant audience will do that to you).  When a poem feels like it’s getting closer to being finished but I’m not sure, I often send it to a poet friend for suggestions. They’ll catch the unclear/fuzzy places, along with spelling and grammatical errors.  So yes, depending on the kindness of (once) strangers has been essential since the beginning.

Elisabeth Horan : part five

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

Dickinson grounds me. When I read her I realize anything is possible. She is so quiet, but loud, pastoral and lusting. My favorite feminist shut-in beauty. I wish I had known her.

Plath. Well, she is Plath. That kind of intensity, but written in such precision, awes me…

Frost. Meter, rhyme, cadence, sublime tension and subtlety. Master of words. Stopping by Woods. Knowing how to write formal poetry in a modern voice is serious business. I am in training.

Adrienne Rich, Rita Dove, James Diaz, Kaveh Akbar, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Sexton, Yusef Komunyaka, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Li-Young Lee, Robert Hayden, e.e. Cummings, Ada Limon, Lorca, Borges, so many others… I know I am forgetting. There are so many exciting things happening in the poetry community right now, everytime I read a new lit journal I learn and I am inspired.

Saturday 2 June 2018

Cassidy McFadzean : part four

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?

Certain poems have meant a great deal to me at different times. One poem I would recommend and that I have returned to for consolation and fortitude is Anne Boyer’s “What Resembles the Grave But Isn’t.”

Friday 1 June 2018

Wayde Compton : part four

How important is music to your poetry?

Not all of my poetry is based in music, but the most enjoyable part of writing poetry is when I can get it to feel similar to music. Yet I think my concrete poetry appeared as a balance against this.