Sunday 30 June 2019

Carlie Blume : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

I sometimes struggle with figuring out how to elevate a poem and make it soar. I know when a poem isn’t working, but I don’t always know how to get it to that next level. I often drive myself insane with that question. That’s usually when I try to pull back and absorb myself with the work of other poets and make myself familiar with the poems that are working well.

Saturday 29 June 2019

sophie anne edwards : part one

sophie anne edwards walks and creates site-specific and responsive poetry (along with installation-based textile and visual art) on Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island). Her work has been published in a number of print and online publications. Her poems also appear in the bush for a mostly biotic readership. She was shortlisted for Arc Poetry Magazine’s 2019 poem of the year contest. Instagram: sophie anne edwards Twitter: sophieanneedwa1

What are you working on?

Mostly, I am working on a collection of poetry titled Interview with a River. I am writing about the complexity of a local river ecosystem - the biotic and the abiotic, the social, cultural, colonial, environmental histories along with my own personal emotional, intellectual and embodied relationship to the river. Alongside the responsive poetry, I am also writing with the river - finding ways that the river might be a collaborator in the writing and editing. This involves spending a lot of time on the river; I  never quite know what invitations I might set up as these emerge from cues I interpret through my walks. I have also just finished edits on chapters included in two book projects (one on geopoetics, the other on 19th century women and travel), and recently submitted two co-authored articles on creative field research with children in the early years. I also write a lot of lists (the poetry of daily life).

Shannon Mastromonico : part four

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

I started reading Sylvia Plath's work when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Her work and her life had a huge impact on my own work, how I see poetry in general.

Friday 28 June 2019

James Roome : part one

James Roome received an MA in Poetry from MMU and is based in Manchester, UK. His work has appeared in Magma, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and the Wordlife anthology. His first chapbook, Bull, is out now from The Red Ceilings Press.

Why is poetry important?

Poetry is ridiculous. It’s an excuse to say ridiculous things and get away with it. I wrote a poem the other day about a fake study that claimed 12% of people believe that when the full moon shines on the human body, it is possible to see their internal organs. Ridiculous, right? Perhaps it’s possible to get away with it because so few people care about poetry, and those that do have a preference for the odd and unusual. The stranger, the better. Even ‘mainstream’ poetry is a niche interest. The world continues all around us. And yet, every now and again one breaks through into the popular consciousness and the ridiculousness and variety of the world is highlighted and everyone looks at it and thinks, huh!

In another, more serious way, I also think of poetry along the same lines as Wallace Stevens: as a replacement for religious spirituality. I like what Susan B. Weston said about ‘Sunday Morning’: ‘the "revelation of a secular religion."' We say these ridiculous things, but sometimes they add up to more than the sum of their parts. Sometimes there’s a stone buried in poems and when you wash it in the sea it turns red.

Finally, poetry also makes us question language. Does a word have to mean exactly what you’ve been taught it means? A prime issue with understanding and acceptance of poetry as an art form is that everyone feels a sense of ownership over the language they speak. That language, therefore, has to mean something and if you don't understand what it means then it must be elitist/you're not clever enough to get the poem. This is a misconception that I try to correct on a daily basis as part of my work as an English teacher. Poetry is about making you feel (or not feel) things, without needing to explain why. That’s valuable. It can be beautiful and surprising and harsh and weird, and it’s at its best when it resists logic.

Steve Venright : part three

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I haven’t been reading much poetry of late, though a couple of fairly recent favourites would be Stuart Ross’s poetic novel Pockets (ECW), and the selected writings of Paul Dutton (Sonosyntactics) and Alice Burdick (Deportment), both from WLU Press. I have, however, been reading lots of books about poetry and poets. I’ve now read almost everything by Richard Holmes, including his massive and exceptional bios of Shelley and Coleridge, and his trilogy of “reflections of a Romantic biographer” which include, as in the most recent instalment This Long Pursuit, revelatory mini-bios of poets who are often better known their other vocations, such as Margaret Cavendish and Zélide (Isabelle de Charriere). Another superb poet-bio I read recently is the one on Keats by Robert Gittings. Oh, and I did just read most of John Ashbery’s Hotel Lautréamont—picked it up in Cambridge at Grolier Books which, like the poet, was born in 1927. Not bad, that guy.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Jessica Mehta : part five

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

Li-Young Lee, particularly his poem “Braiding.” It’s a reminder to love the current moment: “There will come a day / one of us will have to imagine this.”

Mary J. Oliver : part one

Mary J. Oliver’s background is in the visual arts, teaching and exhibiting in Scotland and England. She switched to writing fulltime ten years ago. Quite a few individual poems accepted by magazines and journals and anthologies, won a few prizes in competitions, so was encouraged to commit to a major project, which has been accepted for publication, 2019, Seren Books, UK. Her debut is a coalescing of prose, poetry, found documents and photographs, and demonstrates her deep awareness of the visual and tangible qualities involved with holding and reading a book.  She has always lived on the west coast of UK, either in Scotland or Cornwall. 

Photo credit: Steve Tanner, Fotgraphics, Cornwall

What are you working on?

I'm finishing a ten year project relating to a hobo's experience in Canada during the Great Depression of the 1930s (my father). It's my cross-genre debut - poetry as memoir, JIM NEAT - The Case of a Young Man Down on His Luck, being published by Seren (UK) in September 2019.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Nicole Raziya Fong : part one

Nicole Raziya Fong is a writer living in Montréal. Her work seeks to delimit and re-construct immaterial ampules of psychic experience, coaxing the incorporeal into inhabiting a more muscular physique. Her chapbook, Fargone (2014), was published as part of the Poetry Will Be Made By All project. Past work has appeared in publications including Cordite, Poetry is Dead, and The Volta. PEЯFACT (Talonbooks, 2019) is her first book.

What are you working on?

I’m currently grappling with a long, onerous project titled OЯACULE. It’s an imperfectly theatrical channelling of psychic mutability, suffering and feminine resistance. It’s onerous in the sense that it’s being written alongside a process of uncovering traumatic memory, difficult in that I’m trying to maintain an equivalent level of hiddenness while implementing a legibility of my own making. I’ve always had more of an interest in the workings of language and how certain convergences might reveal or conceal something ordinarily untouchable; it’s something I’m trying to access in this work.

dean rader : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

Two poets I did not mention above are John Donne and Gerard Manley Hopkins. They taught me how a line of poetry is also a line of music. I am probably most drawn to poems that I think catalyze language’s ability to lift itself out of mere expression and into the realm of music.

In terms of inspiration or interaction, I recently completed a collaborative project with the calligrapher Thomas Ingmire in which I wrote a poem in response to one of his drawings while listening to music. That poem, “Nocturne (Lasciere Sonare)” is itself a marriage of poetry and music.

Also on this note (ha!) a young composer named Sam Melnick put a few poems from Works & Days to music, and I recently learned that British composer Gabriel Jackson is setting my poem from Bullets into Bells, “Self-Portrait in Charleston, Orlando” to music for The Crossing musical ensemble out of Philadelphia. So, while I always think of my work as being first and foremost in conversation with visual art, it is also intimately connected to music.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Charles Jensen : part one

Charles Jensen is the author of the poetry collection Nanopedia and six chapbooks of poems, including the recent Story Problems and Breakup/ Breakdown. His first collection, The First Risk, was a finalist for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. He is the recipient of the 2018 Zócalo Poetry Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, the 2007 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, the Red Mountain Review Chapbook Award, and an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Field, The Journal, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is the founding editor of the online poetry magazine LOCUSPOINT, which explores creative work on a city-by-city basis. He lives in Los Angeles and directs the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension, the largest continuing education creative writing program in the nation.

Photo: David Franco

How did you first engage with poetry?

When I was 13, I lived on an island. There were 11 kids in my class. A poet came to do a residency in the school for a week and that was really the first time I started writing poems and learning about craft. The following year, my high school English teacher pulled me aside after class after we did a poetry assignment and encouraged me to keep writing, that she’d work with me outside of class. Those two people changed my life. One was a public school teacher who went above and beyond, and the other was an artist funded by a state arts agency to work with kids.

Chris Warren : part one

Chris Warren is a UK based typographical artist, poet and writer. He has exhibited in China and Finland, and will soon be exhibiting a series of 18 typewriter studies in the UK. He is also a contributor to the Chaudiere Books blog, a founding member of The Spittoon Collective, founder of the Spittoon Fiction night and former fiction editor of The Spittoon Literary Magazine, based in Beijing. His work can be found at

What are you working on?

The time I have to work at the moment is relatively few and far between but I’m doing what I can to make headway into four separate projects. One is a series of 26 concrete poems focussing on the digital manipulation and disintegration of individual letters; the second is a growing series of typewritten shade studies; the third is an increasingly ridiculous typographic nonsense odyssey that I lost all control of some time ago, and the fourth is a series of large, typewritten, poems largely written by my 18 month old son. He is one of the greatest sound poets I have ever heard, bias aside. The issue I have at the moment, if it can be called an issue, is that the work put into any of these projects is letting loose a flood of thoughts and ideas that are influencing the others, or planting seeds for new projects, which means everything I’m working on seems to be quickly gestating into something larger than I originally conceived. However, finding myself juggling more balls than I have hands for is a far nicer place to be than having acres of time and an empty head. I’ve been there too, and that’s just upsetting.

Monday 24 June 2019

G. E. Schwartz : part ten

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

There are three: Herman Melville's Pierre or, The Ambiguities, as it always reminds me how an authentic dramatic expression of profound anxieties and obsessions reveals us as a species on a path to discovery; Melville's Clarel, which, while mocking Christian allegory, addresses the deeply pastoral with virtuosity and purpose, and ALL of Margaret Avison's work, as she brings home for me at least that the elusive--and the elliptical--can stalk me with its river-deep slow whisperings.

Joshua Weiner : part three

What poets have changed the way you thought about writing? 

Too many to name.  I think I'm a little changed by every poet I read seriously, by which I mean continually and intentionally for a period of time.  Mina Loy, whose work I was immersed in for years, helped me better understand the relationship of verbal density to expansive consciousness; she became one of my few courage teachers, you could say.  And Wallace Stevens did something of the same though entirely differently, by connecting, very powerfully, the sensual world to actions of mind, and with such strong physical sensation in the language. I notice that when I read him for a spell, and I look up from the book, the world around me looks perceptively changed, my brain feels like it's suddenly doing something unusual that's separate from reading.  Reading Stevens for me is a little like taking LSD, but easier to be with other people.  It didn't change the way I thought about writing as much as it made me hyper aware of how, at the granular level of the syllable, the interaction of those language-sounds affects me. 

Sunday 23 June 2019

Carlie Blume : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

In elementary school my grade five teacher gave us the assignment that we had to memorize a poem and recite it in front of the class. I wasn’t familiar with much poetry growing up so my mom took me to the library where we checked out a few poetry anthologies. When I discovered Trees by Joyce Kilmer I was immediately drawn to poem’s beautifully simple anthropomorphic portrait of a tree as well as it’s musicality. It completely delighted me.

Saturday 22 June 2019

Shannon Mastromonico : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

The beginning is the most difficult for me, when the page is blank. The first ideas that I write down are what sparks the process, what gets everything going and they come unexpectedly. Before that moment, it's a waiting game.

Friday 21 June 2019

Lennart Lundh : coda

I like to close readings at new venues by quoting from Carl Sandburg's "Notes for a Preface," found in his Collected Poems: "I should like to think that as I go on writing there will be sentences truly alive, with verbs quivering, with nouns giving color and echoes. It could be, in the grace of God, I shall live to be eighty-nine, as did Hokusai, and speaking my farewell to earthly scenes, I might paraphrase: 'If God had let me live five years longer I should have been a writer.'"

Steve Venright : part two

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

One of the books I return to when needing to get my bearings is Baudelaire’s Paris Spleen. My poems were almost all in prose even before I first encountered it, but my love of that collection—and formally related works such as Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror—secured my inclination. Beyond any technical allure, of course, is the haunting and transporting charge of being addressed by the mind of Baudelaire travelling without decay or distortion through time and space. Literature is indeed, to paraphrase Nicky Drumbolis, a wonderful form of time travel! (When I’ve got a craving for rhyme, humour, and absurd mythic adventure, I can be found within the pages of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.)

Thursday 20 June 2019

Jessica Mehta : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately? 

I’m on a self-prescribed diet of “research-only” books, but fortunately most of them are poetry. I’m neck-deep in the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Marianne Moore, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

dean rader : part four

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

I think about this all the time as well. I’ve been thinking about it a great deal in relation to a book I worked on with Brian Clements and Alexandra Teague called Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, which Beacon published in 2017, on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Massacre. In that book, poetry offers an alternative mode of expression to journalism, statistics, and polemics. So often, public discourse is an example of language at its worst. Well, poetry is language at its best. It clarifies even though it does not explain.

William Stott argues that documentary photography (like that of Dorothea Lange) “educates our emotions.” I love that. I think poetry does something similar but maybe the opposite—it emotionalizes our intellect. It helps us feel through our thinking.

Poetry connects us to language, the tool we use for everything.

Monday 17 June 2019

G. E. Schwartz : part nine

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Alex Dimitrov's Together and By Ourselves, Anais Duplain's Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus, and Ilya Kaminsky's Deaf Republic.

Joshua Weiner : part two

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I've been reading Tom Pickard, early work up through his latest, Fiends Fell Journal, published last year by Flood Editions, beautifully edited and produced by Devin Johnston at Flood, he does such great work, and he has a keen feeling for English poetry that deserves a better audience in the U.S.--the reissue of Roy Fisher's A Furnace, edited by Peter Robinson, is a good example of a book that really needed a champion, and Devin stepped in, impeccably.  I've also been taken by the recent W.S. Graham books--Michael Hofmann's edition for NYRB, and the new Faber selected.  It was an anniversary year last year for Graham, and I'm eager to see the new issue of Chicago Review, with its Graham feature, which should hit stands presently.  Hofmann's own feeling for Graham, the choices he's made, has helped me really hear what's wonderful in that work.  I've also been reading through Donna Stonecipher's books, one by one, a remarkably consistent body of work--six books out, it's clear she knew what she was about from the very beginning.  The most recent books of hers--The Cosmopolitan, Model City, Transaction Histories, and the chapbook from Catenary Press, Ten Ruins--all devoted to the prose poem, are certainly some of the most formally rigorously defined in that genre, which from the outset defies definition.  I've also recently enjoyed new first books by Lindsay Bernal, Liz Countryman, and Joshua Mensch, all quite different from each other, and books that I admire and find auspicious.  Otherwise, I've been immersed in the German translations and essays of Michael Hamburger, collected in a recent omnibus from Carcanet--more than any other poet writing in English, Hamburger gave us a comprehensive image of what German poetry accomplished in the 20th century.  Though, as post-script, I'd add that I just got my hands on David Gascoyne's Collected Verse Translations, which I'm working through, with special attention to "Hölderlin's Madness," a cycle of the German Romantic's poems, translated quite freely--I think Gascoyne was working with a French translation from German, which rather triples up the translation layers, quite interestingly--and antecedent to Hamburger's edition, which was really the first complete translation into English.  That's all rather heavy.  The book I just finished and enjoyed immediately rereading and am still rereading is Anthony Madrid's There Was an Old Man with a Springbok, which you can hear is a limerick; in fact the book is over 140 limericks that are as good as anything by Edward Lear, and of a demented genius that is 100% Madrid.  They are light verse in the most serious way, the sensibility a kind of extraordinary verbal champagne spiked with a gabillion bubbles of technical virtuosity.  It's the most dangerous book I've read all year.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Elisa Matvejeva : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

I don’t think I could write if music didn’t exist. I have a ritual, if you will. I feel an emotion or have an image in my head, but by listening to music, this emotion condenses into tangible words and phrases. There is something so therapeutic about music and how it forms words in my head. I guess it is because I grew up in a household where music was always playing. I guess it helps me think clearly.

Carlie Blume : part one

Carlie Blume is a Vancouver born writer of poetry and fiction. She is a 2017 graduate of The Writer’s Studio as well as a recent graduate from the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive and Chelene Knight’s Advanced Poetry Workshop. Her work has appeared in The Maynard, Train: a poetry journal, Pulp MAG, Loose Lips Magazine, Guest Poetry Journal and BAD DOG Review.

What are you working on?

I am currently working on polishing up my first poetry collection, writing poems for my second collection and building up the courage to get back to the novel I have been starting and stopping for the last five years.

Saturday 15 June 2019

Shannon Mastromonico : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

It's strange because there is a feeling, the way the words sound at the end, maybe. But there is definitely a moment where I just know that it's finished.

Friday 14 June 2019

Lennart Lundh : part five

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 meets its public when I read at the wonderful venues available to me in the Chicago area, and/or when it gets published. I don't write collaboratively and won't workshop. By this point, I'm confident in my abilities.

Steve Venright : part one

Steve Venright is a Canadian visual artist and poet whose books include Spiral Agitator (Coach House Books, 2000), Floors of Enduring Beauty (Mansfield Press, 2007), and The Least You Can Do Is Be Magnificent: Selected & New Writings (Feed Dog/Anvil Press, 2017). Through his Torpor Vigil Records label, he has released several albums of somniloquies, soundscapes, and songs, including Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor: Yet More Outrageous Recordings of the World’s Most Renowned Sleeptalker and Samuel Andreyev’s The Tubular West. As a purveyor of neurotechnology in the 1990s, he exploited the psychedelic potential of pulsed light with his Hallucintatorium—a sort of retinal-circus sideshow that earned him the designation of “Toronto’s prime purveyor of non-chemically altered states” (Eye Weekly). Steve’s digital abstract images and patterns—“variegraphs” and “tryptiles”—are available online from the Torpor Vigil Art store, which peddles everything from credenzas to beach towels.

How does a poem begin?

A poem tends to begin with a neural or maybe extra-neural impulse, tickle, or flash. Sometimes the first line is already in my head; other times—if I arrive before it—I have to wait around a little for it to show up. Every poem I’ve ever written, so far as I can recall, has begun with a single phrase or line without my having any notion whether it will be as short as that or run on for, say, dozens of pages. The disparate but resonating one-liners end up assembling themselves into aggregates when enough of them emerge. Other one-liners suggest a theme and form that I end up riffing on till there’s a bunch of them and they form a modular piece, sometimes even a (dreaded) list poem. I often reflect on Henri Michaux’s observation that the mere desire to create a poem is enough to kill it. I also find Max Ernst’s maxim (Max-ism?) of keeping one eye on the outside world and one on the inner to be a useful position from which to start.

Thursday 13 June 2019

Jessica Mehta : part three

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t? 

Poetry demands a trimming of the fat, and the ability to say critical things concisely. For me, there is a protective veil in poetry that allows me to be totally honest and forthcoming in a way other genres don’t.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

dean rader : part three

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

Certainly Merwin and Wright but also Toni Morrison and Louise Erdrich. I was also really influenced (and still am) by Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, Rainier Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda, Emily Dickinson, Jorie Graham, Federico Garcia Lorca, Charles Wright, Paul Celan, Georg Trakl, Rita Dove, and H.D. I think H.D.’s “Eurydice” may be the great American poem, and it is certainly one of the most underrated. I think about it all the time.

But, I would also say that artists like Paul Klee, Robert Motherwell, and Dorothea Lange, (and now Twombly) have changed how I think about my practice. I have poems about all of four of these visual artists.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Adrienne Gruber : part four

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

There’s a few. Broom Broom by Brecken Hancock is one that always helps me find my way into my own poems.

Monday 10 June 2019

G. E. Schwartz : part eight

What poets changed the way you thought about your writing?

In rough chronological order: John Berryman, as his poetry showed me I could express the various voices and moods within; John Montague, as he reminded me we ALL live (in a micro and macro way) in various cultures, mostly dualistically, Joseph Brodsky, as he taught me to ALWAYS LIVE a strong defense for anything I make--that it might be made to be tried and tested, Ronald Johnson, who set a great example on the many  ways to address the vistas before me, and William Bronk, who taught me how to navigate World, as a land of dreams with its joy its beauty and often its cons.

Joshua Weiner : part one

Joshua Weiner is the author of three books of poetry, including The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish.  He is also the editor of At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn (all from Chicago).   A book of prose, Berlin Notebook, reporting about the refugee crisis (LARB) came out in 2016, and the chapbook, Everything I Do I Do Good: Trumpoems (Dispatches from the Poetry Wars) in 2018.   A recipient of Whiting, Guggenheim, Amy Lowell, and Rome Prize fellowships, he teaches at University of Maryland, and lives with his family in Washington D.C.

Photo credit: Ralph Alswang.

What are you working on?

I'm finishing a translation from German, of Nelly Sachs' 1959 volume, Flight & Metamorphosis, something I've been working on for a couple of years, with the help of Linda Parshall, a German scholar and friend. The translation is very close to finished; now I have to write the introduction and compile the notes.  It'll be the first translation of the entire volume, one of her two masterpieces (the other, Glowing Enigmas, translated in full by Michael Hamburger about 50 years ago). 

Sunday 9 June 2019

Elisa Matvejeva : part four

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

I’ve shouted from the rooftops about Ocean Vuong before, but he really is an inspiration. I hope that one day, when I require renewal, I could just call him up and have a chat instead of just reading his poetry. But it will suffice for now. His poems just transport me into another realm. He’s the reason I started this journey of publishing. His book Night Sky with Exit Wounds really gets to me, it’s so beautifully crafted. It always manages to renew me.

Saturday 8 June 2019

Cendrine Marrouat : part five

What are you working on?

I am working on volume 2 of Walks: A Collection of Poetry. This series is a celebration of my love for haiku as well as an invitation to embrace the flitting moments that surround us.

Volume 1 will be released on February 28, 2019. For more information, visit

Shannon Mastromonico : part one

Shannon Mastromonico was born and raised in Montreal. She has been writing poetry/creating art for over twenty years and is an alumni of the Dawson college photography program. Her work has been published in the journals Montréal Writes, Persephone's Daughters, Snapdragon Journal and Harness Magazine as well as in her  recently self published chapbook. She lives with her husband and kitty, Calliope in the Laurentian Mountains.

What are you working on?

I'm working on my first full length poetry book, which is actually a poetic graphic novel.

Friday 7 June 2019

Lennart Lundh : part four

How does a poem begin?

My senses, all or singly, elicit a response from the word-wrangling part of my brain, which sets about herding letters into some semblance of order. I never know when, and I've learned not to force it. There's no quota I'm trying to meet.

Valerie Wallace : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I’ve been listening to poetry podcasts lately. I'm a big fan of PoemTalk from Penn Sound. My go-to right now is The Poetry Exchange, which approaches the conversation as thinking about particular poems as friends. I think that’s perfect.

Thursday 6 June 2019

Kara Petrovic : coda

Anything can be poetry. But not everything is a poem.

Jessica Mehta : part two

How does your work first enter the world? 

Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with? I’ve never been part of a writers group. I simply wrote, mostly poetry, for years. When I was in my 30s, I took a chance and sent an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher. It was accepted the same month.

Bobbi Lurie : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I’ve been reading Ideograms In China by Henri Michaux, The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, Poet by Clark Coolidge, sleep preceded by saying poetry by Jacques Roubaud, Extracting The Stone Of Madness by Alejandra Pizarnik, and Crow With No Mouth by Stephen Berg.

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Ariel Dawn : part five

Why is poetry important?

I see poetry as an offering to Spirit, a response to life, an eternal conversation that divines the pattern and essence in what may seem to be overwhelming chaos.

dean rader : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

I had always “liked” poetry, but I didn’t really get hooked until I was in college. I remember one day in particular. I was taking a standard American literature survey class the assignment was to peruse our poetry anthology and note any poems that intrigued us.  I still remember sitting in the dining hall, thumbing through Robert Diyanni’s Modern American Poetry: Voices and Visions. Somehow, I found myself turning to pages that had W. S. Merwin poems on the left-hand page and James Wright poems on the right-hand page. I remember reading Merwin’s “A Door” and “When You Go Away” and Wright’s “Autumn Begins in Martin’s Ferry Ohio” and “The Jewel.”  Almost immediately, I could feel the entire room moving away from me, as though it were on a conveyor. I had never encountered anything like those poems—dark but beautiful, accessible but otherworldly, grave yet lyric. Reading those poems in that book on that day changed my life.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Adrienne Gruber : part three

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I’m part of a sweet poetry book club, which is awesome because I find I don’t get a lot of time for pleasure reading these days. Some of the books I’ve read and loved over the last year are Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith, Trauma Head by Elee Kraljii Gardiner, After Birth by Elizabeth Ross, The Carrying by Ada Limon, War/Torn by Hasan Namir, Chenille or Silk by Emma McKenna, Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight, and Precious Energy by Shannon Bramer.

Monday 3 June 2019

K.I. Press : part five

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

The book I return to is Kristjana Gunnars’s The Rose Garden: Reading Marcel Proust. In it, the narrator reads Proust non-sequentially, by dipping in and reading random sections, and I am happy to say that The Rose Garden can also be read this way.

G. E. Schwartz : part seven

What do you find the most difficult about poetry?

Building the emotional connection between the reader (or listener)and me--without that there's no compelling reason for a reader to care.

Sunday 2 June 2019

Elisa Matvejeva : part three

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

Poetry is the most concise form of writing and I admire that very much. You could read a poem consisting of only two lines and, if written well, it will transport you into another realm regardless of its length. For me, it’s the easiest way to express myself. I describe a picture or a moment, or a feeling, and, with the use of some key words, I’ve somehow managed to relate to other people. I think that’s beautiful.

Saturday 1 June 2019

Cendrine Marrouat : part four

How important is music to your poetry?

I always have music playing quietly in the background when I write poetry. But it has to be music conducive to creativity, such as classical pieces or tracks from my favorite bands (e.g. Genesis).

Music has played a very important part in my creativity. Some songs have moved me to the point where they inspired complete poems. 

Julie Morrissy : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Hannah Sullivan’s Three Poems, Ailbhe Darcy’s Insistence, and Scott Thurston’s Talking Poetics: Dialogues in Innovative Poetics.