If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
Jack Gilbert, and probably salmon or Swordfish
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
I think like many other writers, my fear is not being able to write. Which I experienced for a few years. Having already suffered my worst fear, I just write without investing a lot on what I write. Although I have been very pleased with recent work.I think no longer having my major fear has freed me considerably.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
Wow! I don’t have just one really Anyhow, Jack Gilbert, who really taught me how to write, Robert Creeley, one of the first contemporary poets I read and whose book, For Love, is forever imprinted on my brain, and who has influenced my work in ways that often surprise me. And the last, one is Philip Levine for creating an incredible oeuvre starting in 1963 through his last, posthumous volume in 2016. Also, he made poetry possible for many others, especially given his working class roots, which he celebrated.
What books are on your nightstand?
Right now Breathturn into Timestead, Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan (translated by Pierre Joris), Sorrow Bread by Mark Cox, Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, Book of Nightmares by Galway Kinnell, The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert, Zero K by Don Delillo
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
Usually words and/or images will appear in my head demanding to be written down, or a phrase, and occasionally prompts. Once I start writing, it’s very much like jazz improvisation, one word, image of phrase, suggesting the next and so on.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
I must confess to a fondness for commas. Partly because I use them frequently. They’re handy keeping a poem from becoming a train wreck. When reading, they’re a brief interruption. I like to view the entire page as an aspect of the poem: punctuation, white space, the visual/physical arrangement of words and lines on the page guide the reader through the poem.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
Hmmm, High school? It’s been way too many years to remember that! I do recall an Ancient Philosophy class I took and never read Aristotle. And still haven’t.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
My desk. It belonged to my grandfather who reputedly wrote poetry on occasion. It’s a really lovely leather topped desk. And while it appears to be big, it is actually extremely light.
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
Because I absolutely must write.
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
Oh boy! So many appropriate and inappropriate quotes come to mind.
I have to go with “When you run out of red, use blue.” Excellent advice not only for writing, but life in general.
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