- What does poetry mean to you?
I never really thought about ‘what poetry meant to me.’ Poetry is just words that I use to express myself. It is a way to purge my inner doubts, fears, and pain. It has been said many times before by many writers … writing is cathartic. It basically comes down to that!
- Could you tell us about your latest book of poetry ‘Children of the Storm’? I am not sure what I can say. All of my books are the same to me. They are expressions of what I was feeling at the time. I am a glass-half-empty person and always have been. I admit that freely. In “Children of the Storm,” there are poems of loss, despair, and regret. There are a few poems about or for Ukraine. I like to write about current events as well as my feelings. I am leaning more toward abstract poetry than I was in the past. I am trying to make the reader think about what they are reading and translate the metaphors into a reality of their own.
- If you were to suggest three of your poetry books to a new reader, which three would you pick and why?
That is a hard one. I always lean towards my newest work, only because that is where I am, and how I am right now. Although, I do think “Learning to Climb the Mountain” may end up being my pinnacle book in the end. Not in the aspect of successful sales, but in my deepest thinking and writing as far as I am concerned.
- What are some of the things that inspire you to write poetry?
Pain … mostly pain. Physical, emotional, and mental. Pain is what drives me to write. I have experienced much loss and abuse in my lifetime. Even the beauty of nature that I write about is because nature helps me deal with the pain. Nature, both beautiful and cruel, is my salvation.
- What does a typical day in your life look like?
Hah, typical? There is no such thing. Dull, mundane, boring, painful … but never typical.
Wake up, do chores, maybe swim or walk, more chores, a nap, waste time on social media, grocery shop, cook dinner, watch TV. And, if I am lucky and motivated, I may write some, but not always. I can go weeks without writing a thing. I have a hard time forcing myself to write. I also have a hard time making myself read anyone else’s books. I never did like to read.
- Who are some of your favorite published poets?
I have too many friends that are true poets. It would be hard to mention them all for fear of leaving someone out. As far as well-known famous poets – I never have read any other than what we were forced to read in high school.
- Which is your favorite poem?
Of my own? How does one choose a favorite child from among all their children? I probably have at least one poem I feel is worthwhile in each of my books. If I had to pick one among all of them, I guess it would be “Slow Dancing with Time” from my latest book “Children of the Storm.” It is about my mother, and it is the way I wish I could write all the time. I do not know how it happened, but I felt inspired when I was writing it. It will be published by Sand Hills Literary Magazine in the fall of 2023. I was elated to have such a prestigious publication accept it.
- Which poet’s work drew you to poetry as a child?
None! I hated reading and hated poetry as a child. English Lit was my worst subject in school. I never finished any of the assigned books and almost failed it. I started to write down feelings and musings around the time I was 14. I kept a handwritten journal, sort of a diary of my feelings. I never thought of them as poems and never thought of myself as a poet. I just wrote what came into my head. And believe me, I had a lot of wrong words and misspellings, since my vocabulary was so poor from hating to read.
- What advice would you give new or emerging poets?
I am the last person on earth to give advice to an emerging poet. I am very unsure and uncomfortable with my own writing. I know many poets who boast of their own work and raise themselves up … maybe they would be the ones to ask. All I can say is … be true to yourself. Do not try to be someone else. Success is not the answer, although we all seek it. In the end, only write what you enjoy, even if you feel it isn’t any good. You have to be you!
- What else would you like to share about your work?
That I wish writing was easier. I find it hard. Sometimes I want to give it up completely. I do not know what makes me continue on, but I hope that I do continue on.