May 142018

How does the blues influence your writing style?

The musical aspect of poetry is very important to me. I “hear” a poem as I write and inner rhymes and line breaks are influenced by that. It’s not just the metrics of the blues that attracts me, but the subject matter: hardship, resignation, inspiration, passion, the elemental forces of life that so clearly and sometimes harshly resonate. I like the tactic of repetition in poetry, an essential strategy of the blues–how we respond as reader or listener to refrain.. The first poets were singers and the blues are poems, fierce and memorable poems that come from the soul.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, Gargoyle, Pinyon, Little Patuxent Review, Spillway, Midwestern Gothic and others. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 20 books including  Selected Poems” from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and “Ribcage” from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Three of her poems have been featured on Verse Daily and another is among the winners of the 2016 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. Her newest books are  “Carnival” from  FutureCycle Press and “The Seven Heavenly Virtues” from Kelsay Books. Her next book “Her Heartsongs’ will be published by Presa Press in 2018.  Colby is a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Good Works Review.

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