I was so lucky to read Michelle Bitting’s amazing poetry collection “The Couple Who Fell To Earth”, and it was mindblowing. I was lost for words, but still managed to write a review. I am very thankful that Michelle agreed to do this interview with me, so I can (and YOU!) can read her thoughts on poetry and literature.
READ THE REVIEW OF “The Couple Who Fell To Earth” here
1. Mention three fun facts that your fans maybe don’t know about you.
I play guitar and harmonica, sometimes simultaneously and while singing too! I was a professional dancer and a line cook in a fancy restaurant
in other lifetimes. Both my teens are artists. One is autistic.
2. When did you know that you wanted to become an author?
I was singing in the choir and I looked over at a tall dark-haired man in the congregation and the words (not very good ones) started pouring out. I think I wrote them down on my service bulletin with one of those very stubby pencils they keep stocked in the pews
3. How long have you been writing? And what started it?
I wrote poems in college but focused on dance and theater until I had my first child thirteen years later and I haven’t stopped writing since.
That was sixteen years ago.
4. Who discovered you? (Did you contact publishing houses? How was the process?)
I took a class at UCLA extension. I thought it was short fiction (which I also sort of write, the flash kind) but it was poetry and I was smitten!
When the class ended, I kept studying with my teacher, Lisa Glatt, in her private workshops. Eventually I landed in class with my true poetry
mamas: Sharon Olds, Dorianne Laux and then others came along. It never ends. There are so many great, inspirational writers out there.
5. How many books have you published (so far)? And which genre?
I have three poetry books, all with C & R Press. A couple have won awards along with many of the poems in them. I’ve also done collaborative projects
with photographers and artists and published those separately. Sonnets in those cases. I formal form I truly love.
6. Why this story? What made you choose this specific theme?
My poems come from what’s happening in my life: family, love, children, sex, marriage and then the whole wide world with all its beauty and terror
plus whatever I’m reading or studying at the time and then weird random ideas also just come whether I want them to or not. That would be
ideas from the abyss of the unconscious I suppose.
7. What inspires you to write? Which authors have inspired you? (Music, art, things in life?)
I get inspired by art, music, nature, things people say, memories, pretty much anything and everything. You just never know! Oh! My students inspire me A LOT. Also, I’ve just completed three years of course study in mythology towards a PhD so themes from all that reading and writing has certainly seeped into my meditations.
8. What is the message of your book? How should the reader interpret it?
People should just enjoy the poems and not try to hard to interpret or figure them out. Poetry is different from fiction books in that way.
9. How do you identify with the character(s) in your book?
If I’m writing about different people or personas that come through in my poetry I’m definitely identifying with them on some level.
I would say a lot of my poetry veers away from straight linear first person narration these days. If it seems like the speaker is sometimes
split, plural, more omniscient-voiced, then she probably is to a degree. Sometimes more or less than others.
10. What are you currently reading?
James Meetze’s Phantom Hour; I and Thou by Martin Buber; Olio by Tyehimba Jess.
11. Mention 3 book titles that you wish to recommend
When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing & the Writing Life; Paradise Drive; Night Sky With Exit Wounds
12. When is your next book going to be published?
I have a new chapbook in the works. I’m hoping it comes out in 2017 but 2018 would be ok too since my book The Couple Who Fell to Earth just came out and I’ve only begun to read and push it out into the universe.