“I try to serve the poem, rather than holding fast to a preconceived notion of what it should look like on the page or what it is about… I will intentionally put (it) aside for weeks or months.”
How did you discover that you were you a writer?
I started writing poetry as a child but did not identify myself as a poet until my 30’s. From a young age I was a huge reader of poetry though. We were a family of readers and there was no TV in our home. When I was 13 we moved from New Hampshire to live in France for a year. At the little library in St. Cyr-sur-Loire, there were not a lot of English fiction available but they had a great selection of English and American poetry books. That was the year, while living far from New England, that I discovered the poetry of Robert Frost. I am still thankful that I unwittingly fed the dormant poet in me with such spare, wry and wise poetry. Much later, when I discovered the art of Andrew Wyeth, his paintings felt like a Frost poem framed.
Describe your writing process.
When I am writing well, and often, there is an absence of clutter: visual clutter of dishes to do, laundry waiting to be done, bills to pay; schedule clutter of a day overfull with non-essentials; Internet clutter of social media, Netflix, Youtube overuse which can be a barrage of needless data.
Long walks, reading poetry and having enough down time allows my busy monkey brain/ego to be hushed and for the reflective soul and heart to speak. And then of course to listen – to conversations, birdsong, night dreams, other poets, the quiet voice inside of me.
I write many revisions by hand before transferring the poem to a Word document for further editing. I read the poem aloud as I edit. I try to serve the poem rather than holding fast to a preconceived notion of what it should look like on the page or what it is about even. Often my first few lines get ditched as just the starting impetus, the seed for what bloomed later. I often will intentionally put aside a nearly finished poem for weeks or months. When I come back to it, it is easier to see it fresh and the final edit goes easier. I have a poet friend that I sometimes send work to for her critique, if I feel stuck, or for her praise that, miracle of miracles, another poem has been born.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
I will be reading from my first book, River Beneath the River, which was published 10 years ago. Many things inspired those poems: parenting two daughters, marriage, fly fishing in Idaho, mid-life shape shifting. I will also be reading new poems inspired by my happier second marriage, mushroom hunting in Oregon, moving to the Midwest.
What are you working on now?
My husband and I moved to Batavia from Oregon last June. I am still settling into our home, neighborhood, new job, etc. I am also working on my second poetry book with a working title of Walking Uneven Ground.