Author interview #13
READ THE REVIEW OF “Ergon”
- Mention three fun facts that your fans maybe don’t know about you.
A. I taught myself to cook chocolate soufflés as a ten-year-old kid because my mother didn’t like to cook.B. I love to go to music master classes to watch the way the master teachers gesture to communicate how they want passages expressed. The combination of emphasis in master’s level music instruction on the fine details of technique and the depth of emotional/spiritual expression parallels poetry writing in a way I find marvelous.
C. Although I am professionally trained as a behaviorist, I have terribly behaved dogs and don’t like my students to meet them.
- When did you know that you wanted to become an author?
When I was ten years old.
- How long have you been writing? And what started it?
I wrote my first one page story in 6th grade and started writing poetry in high school. I published my first poem at age 38 and my first book at 67. I’m a slow bloomer.
- Who discovered you? (Did you contact publishing houses? How was the process?)
I have studied with a wonderful poet, Molly Peacock, for many years. She suggested I contact an editor whom she knew.
- How many books have you published (so far)? And which genre?
I have edited six academic books and written one book of poetry.
- What made you choose this specific theme?
My themes so far come from remembered life experiences. A lot of the poems come from trying to resolve something that I did not know was still unsettled in me. I usually do not know what I am going to write about until after it is written.
- What inspires you to write? Which authors have inspired you? (Music, art, things in life?)
I am inspired by nature, efforts to recover from trauma, meditation, my marriage,
erotic experience, and my history as a Zen monk. I am also inspired by several favorite poets including Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, David Baker, Molly Peacock, Patrick Donnelly, Diane Seuss, and Philip Levine.
- What is the message of your book? How should the reader interpret it?
The message of my book I think is captured in lines from the last poem in which I list some wonders of sensory experience, including seeing a vivid display of the Milky Way:
the stars across the axis of the sky,
light enough to walk without stumbling.
I think I stumble a lot and perhaps a more accurate line would say something about enough light to find a way to get back up after repeatedly falling in the dark. But there is enough light nonetheless.
- What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Seamus Heaney’s collected poems and a book about him by Helen Vendler. I’m reading Steven Mitchell’s translation of the Odyssey, Simon Schama’s book about Rembrandt, and a new mystery by Craig Johnson.
- Mention 3 book titles that you wish to recommend.
Opened Ground by Seamus Heaney
Never Ending Birds by David Baker
Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open: Poems by Diane Seuss
- When is your next book going to be published?
The first book of poems took 27 years. I’m hoping to cut down the time to the next one, otherwise I’ll need to live to be 97 for it to see the light of day, which seems like pushing my luck.