Why do you write poetry?
…because I have no other choice. When I am struck by a poem, I am plagued until it is written. I used to try to ignore poems, particularly if one came to me in the shower or in the middle of the night, but I've learned to give into them. My poems generally come to me in a rush and in a complete form. I rarely change more than a word or two. Poetry can be cathartic for me. Most of the time it encapsulates a core emotion or experience. I don't write poems; they “right” me.
When did you begin writing?
I was fortunate to have had an uncle teach me to read and spell when I was three. I lived with him, my aunt, and my sister following the death of my mom. Unfortunately, he died a couple of years later, but I associate the love of rhyme, reading, and learning with the closeness of being held, feeling loved and cared for during that brief time.
I have always loved short stories. That was predominately what I wrote during my creative writing days at KU. I began writing poetry about nine years ago, after not writing anything for decades. Creativity had to find an escape; the form being short enabled me to utilize it in my time-constrained life.
Tell us about your writing routine.
I write when the poem strikes. I always have my iPhone within reach. My poems are written on the notebook feature. I've written on a plane, while waiting in a line… no time or place eludes me. I try to get them emailed to someone or typed on my computer relatively soon so they don't get erased by accident along with my grocery list!
Where do you find your inspiration?
In everyday life.
Often a word or statement will trigger a poem for me. It can also be something I see or hear, a mood or memory. I guess I would have to say the five senses trigger many of my poems.
Who are your favorite poets to read?
I have never met a poem I didn't like, though I don't claim to understand them all.
I continue to enjoy the poets I grew up with; William Stafford, Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Frost. Poetry doesn't get much better than Walt Whitman. I also adore Sylvia Path and the Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad, a recent find.
Do you spent much time in the company of other poets?
As a poet/writer, I thought for a long time I was a lone writer. In October of 2010, a friend mentioned a writing convention in Lawrence just around the corner from me. I went. It was The Kansas Authors Club Convention. I became a member and have been actively involved since then.
I also have discovered there are numerous poetry events ongoing in our creative community. The Red Tail readings are twice monthly and it is a group of amazing female poets in north Lawrence. I went to a reading at The Tap Room for the first time a couple of Sundays ago. The funny thing is that these have all been in existence for years; in the case of Kansas Authors Club, since 1909.
There are Slam events ongoing now at The Bottleneck. It seems each event introduces me to new poets and readings. The Raven Bookstore has been extremely supportive of local authors and hosts well known authors who come in from elsewhere.
I'm now expanding my horizons to Topeka and Kansas City. I recently became a member of The Writer's Place.
I am pleasantly surprised at how many small towns across Kansas have thriving art centers and the many ways they embrace artists of all genres.
Why should people read poetry?
Poetry unites people, it offers a chance to explore new ideas or experiences that many don't have the language to express. Poets have a responsibility to the world to speak out, to bring about change as well as to share emotion, beauty, horror, inspiration, and understanding.
I've come to realize, on a personal level, that poetry isn't about my life as much as it is allowing myself to have the experiences in which I meet the poems I am meant to write.
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