Tuesday 28 February 2023

Lynne Jensen Lampe : part one

Lynne Jensen Lampe’s debut collection, Talk Smack to a Hurricane (Ice Floe Press, 2022) concerns mother-daughter relationships, mental illness, and antisemitism. Her poems appear in many journals, including THRUSH, Figure 1, and Yemassee. A finalist for the 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize and Best of the Net nominee, she lives with her husband and two dogs in mid-Missouri, where she edits academic research. Visit her at https://lynnejensenlampe.com; on Twitter @LJensenLampe; or IG @lynnejensenlampe

How do you know when a poem is finished?

It depends on the poem. In general, a poem is done when I read it aloud and feel the energy in my voice stay strong until the last word. Sometimes I can feel that in my body, other times I need to listen to a recording. Conversely, I know a poem needs work when I hear or sense a vocal weakness, a softness that doesn’t derive from the content. Places I stumble over words. The revision and just sitting with the poem can take months. A few times, though, I needed to write a quick draft in time for my critique group, think I have nothing like an actual poem, and they tell me to send it out. Or I submit a poem over and over, all of a sudden decide to change the last word, and the next journal accepts it.

Sunday 26 February 2023

Jamie Evan Kitts : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

Luke Hathaway’s The Affirmations, John Elizabeth Stintzi’s Junebat, Di Brandt’s The Sweetest Dance on Earth, Sue Sinclair’s Almost Beauty, Jordan Trethewey and Marcel Herms’s Unexpected Mergers, Amber McMillan’s This is a Stickup, Daniel Scott Tysdal’s The End is in the Middle, Alyda Faber’s Poisonous If Eaten Raw, Robert Colman’s Democratically Applied Machine, Katie Fewster-Yan’s Surrender & Resistance, Triny Finlay’s Myself, a Paperclip, Maleea Acker’s Hesitating Once to Feel Glory, David Huebert’s Humanimus, and Harry Thurston and Thaddeus Holownia’s Icarus, Falling of Birds.

Saturday 25 February 2023

Lee Ann Roripaugh : part five

How does a poem begin?

For me, a poem tends to begin in one of three ways: (1) An image. Something I see or encounter, or from my memories, that I find arresting, or compelling. Something that isn’t literally shiny (especially since the image doesn’t have to be visual although, for me, it oftentimes is), but feels “shiny” inside my brain and continues to linger or shimmer or hold space within my mind until it becomes a kind of a question to which a poem might respond, but not necessarily answer. (2) A line, or a snippet of a line. Something that has a sense of music or propulsion, and is also language that I don’t really quite understand. Once again, this creates a question to which a poem might respond, but not necessarily answer. (3) A strange and compelling fact, usually scientific, frequently zoological, that brings me delight. From one of these starting points, I look for patterns, or connections, and I usually start to collect other images, pieces of language, or sometimes additional facts—oftentimes the more disparate on the surface the better—and I start to clink them together and see if I can make them sing.

Sunday 19 February 2023

Jamie Evan Kitts : part four

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

Language is plain enough for hate but not complicated enough for love. I feel like a poem’s steady accumulation of images in context grants that complication the focus. Poetry doesn’t have to be an answer, but it can be where we understand a problem together through reading. For me that problem is how to say “I love you” with every true reason we have.

Saturday 18 February 2023

Lee Ann Roripaugh : part four

Why is poetry important? 

I think that poetry is perhaps one of the most anti-capitalist of the art forms in that a poem is rarely generated for large sums of capital and poems rarely function as traditional commodities. And yet the circulation and exchange of poems/poetry continues, which to me affirms the necessity and value not only just of poetry per se, but of systems or currencies that exist outside of, or aren’t centered in, capital: language, incantation, song, breath, experiment, narrative or anti-narrative, image, line, communion, compassion, inspiration, creative play. I believe that poetry circles around a shared sense of ineffabilities, things felt or understood but unsayable and unsaid, that pulls us into a space of meaning, or meaning making, that reminds us not only of our ephemerality but also allows us to transcend the state of being mere meatsacks in the service of capital.

Sunday 12 February 2023

Jamie Evan Kitts : 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?

I work closely with a group called the Egg Poets Society. We started workshopping each other’s poems during a COVID lockdown period in early 2022 with the aim of getting our work in publication-ready quality. We’ve been slowly accumulating new members, all folks we’ve made connections with during our degrees and careers. These are all people I can rely on to give honest and helpful feedback, but also glowing support. We’re all just so stoked about what we’re making, and every new publication is a big win. Pieces I’ve workshopped with this group have ended up in The Malahat Review, Augur Magazine, and the League of Canadian Poets’ Poetry Pause, and currently our group chat is called “Taco Poets Society” because they wanted to support me as I wait for word on what I’ve submitted to Taco Bell Quarterly.

Saturday 11 February 2023

Lee Ann Roripaugh : part three

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

I feel like poetry is perhaps the most fluid of forms, the one most capable of shapeshifting, of transformation, and by extension I think that poems are also the form that is most capable of being aesthetically, emotionally, psychologically, culturally transformative. I think that any site of flux has the potentially to be a liminal space—a space of mystery, dismantling, and transgression. And so I think that poems frequently serve as small sites of mystery, dismantling, and transgression. Along similar lines, poetry tends to be the form in which language can function most explicitly as art, in which the aesthetic properties of language can be deliberately highlighted or deliberately played down, and in which the materiality of language is most often revealed, and as such the idea of language as transparent, or as communicative tool, or as a site of political or systemic neutrality is challenged. But I also think that poetry asks of the reader/audience to participate as an intellectual, artistic, emotional and psychological collaborator, and so the relationship between poet and reader/audience is never passive, or one-dimensional, and so powerful and unique relationships can be created between the poet, the poem, and the reader/audience. 

Thursday 9 February 2023

Diane Tucker : part five

How important is music to your poetry?

Very. I’ve loved and been involved with music almost all my life, from elementary school choir to musical theatre to singing contemporary music to singing in my present church choir for more than twenty years. The rigour of baroque music thrills me, as do the more raw rhythms of western Medieval music. But I also love the music of my own time. The three songwriters that have likely influenced me most as a poet are Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Bruce Cockburn. All are musical geniuses and their lyrics can be immortally beautiful. Paul Simon in particular is brilliant at making poetry out of the patter of everyday speech.

Music lives in the body and in a poem in much the same way. It integrates us in a way nothing else seems to be able to.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Tanya Standish McIntyre : part five

How does a poem begin? 

A subtle prodding by the invisible world, in the form of feeling drawn by, noticing, paying attention to something; an angel's quiet whisper.....essentially, by a state of receptivity to the muses. In homeric times it was acknowledged that true poetry comes through the writer from beyond. One must have utmost reverence for this mystery, and above all a great deal of love, in order to be open enough to receive it. 

Sunday 5 February 2023

Jamie Evan Kitts : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

It would have been during my undergrad at St. Thomas University. My first workshop group were assigned to read Michael Ondaatje’s Collected Works of Billy the Kid. But I never really gravitated towards poetry until I was hired as the Managing Editor of the Atlantic Canadian Poets’ Archive. I took advantage of the ACPA blog to interview and platform emerging undergraduate poets from around the region. I learned so much about this craft by engaging with these folks and all the new entries I published over those years. At the end of my final term at the ACPA, I saw my first poem published in a project edited by Jenna Lyn Albert, who I had actually written an entry on for the ACPA.

Saturday 4 February 2023

Lee Ann Roripaugh : part two

How do you know when a poem is finished?

I have a kind of internal barometer that I like to refer the “cringe test.” If, over time, I can read a poem straight through without, you know, feeling cringe-y at any point, or without getting snagged or tangled up on something (unless, of course, the act of becoming snagged or tangled is intentional), or without sliding off into distraction, or without feeling a small twinge, or flicker, of dissatisfaction, or a continued curiosity to either dismantle or fine-tune the poem any longer, then I feel that the poem is finally done. That the glaze is finally dry, so to speak. It doesn’t mean I think the poem is a perfect poem, by any means, of course, just that I’ve done all that I can do, or should do, with it. That I have nothing more to learn, or nothing more to impart, from continuing to work on that poem and if there’s a sense of continued energy in that direction, or that theme, or that form, or that aesthetic approach, it’s ready to be imparted to another, different poem.

Friday 3 February 2023

Sara Henning : part five

How important is music to your poetry? 

Music is incredibly important to my poetic practice. I grew up playing piano, and I will never forget my mother insisting that I play along with a metronome she would place on our piano’s music shelf. I hated the metronome at the time, but as I practiced scales and works ranging from Beethoven to Liszt, the pulse of the song became crucial to how I perceived the world. Rhythm is science and art fused into our daily experience—even the sound of our mother’s heartbeats mimics the iamb. Music was as crucial to how I experienced the world as a child as how I do now—language a collusion of assonance and consonance, grace and instinct. I am a fan of writing in form—sonnet and villanelle, specifically—because I find that the primal order of sound helps me to organize my rhetorical and aesthetic agendas. One recent form I have become fascinated by is Jericho Brown’s duplex, a new form featured in The Tradition, winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize. The duplex is at once sonnet, ghazal, and blues lyric. An example of one of Brown’s duplex can be found here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/152729/duplex

Thursday 2 February 2023

Diane Tucker : part four

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

To renew the ear, Gerard Manley Hopkins always helps. Read aloud, preferably. There is a fantastic YouTube video of English actor Cyril Cusack reciting Hopkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfH_z8llCr8  I’ve listened to it many times. “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things…”

To renew the heart, Christina Rossetti is good. We are kin under the skin, she and I. I especially love her raw, despairing poems like her tour de force, “The Heart Knoweth its Own Bitterness”.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Tanya Standish McIntyre : part four

Why is poetry important?

For the same reason that beauty is. Because it will save the world - I do not think Dostoevsky was wrong. Someone said "beauty is the world seen through the eyes of love"-  Roethke said it something like this: Art is what undoes the damage of haste. E.B. Browning called it "the life within life".