…but I saw how the poems moved people who read them, especially cute girls. When I discovered that I could affect other people with my writing, I knew I was a writer.”
How did you discover that you were a writer?
I didn’t know I was interested in poetry until I started experimenting with writing it in high school. I always had a novel in hand, but I discovered poetry anthologies that were aimed at high school students when I started working in my high school library. The books had a lot of contemporary poems and I was hooked. I tried writing some myself and they weren’t great, but I saw how the poems moved people who read them, especially cute girls. When I discovered that I could affect other people with my writing, I knew I was a writer.
Describe your writing process.
I’ve never figured out the magic formula. I use a lot of writing prompts, and I sometimes take creative writing classes. I am in a local writing group with some talented, supportive, and kind poets. All of these things help keep my brain focused on writing.
I don’t write on a regular basis, but when I am working on a few poems, I add lines to notes in my phone or scraps of paper until I get a first draft. After that, I start revising them until they are done or I put them away so I can get some distance, and eventually, clarity. Feedback from my writing group and other readers, as well as reactions from audiences at open mics or other venues help me to sharpen the poems as well.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
The poems were all written in the last few years, and most of them are semi-autobiographical.
What are you working on now?
I’m interested in writing a series of poems about lesser known historical events and people. I just have to find some that capture my interest.
What was the last great thing you read by another author?
I have a rotating list of favorite poets, but I don’t know if I can pinpoint one recent poem. Some of my favorite poets include Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, Ted Kooser, Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, Gary Soto, Kim Addonizio, and many others.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?
I am always impressed with writers like Stephen King or Billy Collins. They are both best selling, accomplished writers in their own right who are undervalued by the larger literary community. I would love to pick both of their brains about writing. Besides, I think either would be a funny, interesting dinner guest who would have tons of great stories and jokes to share.