Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
Thasia Anne is the producer, director, and participant in Women of Word featuring a few Man Made Words (WOW) on Edinboro University of Pennsylvania campus. WOW has as the troop of poets reading individual poetry woven into conversation, with 2018 being the eighth year. She has been published in “Our Favorites”; Poets’ Halls Press, “Spitmag; Art and Poetry Magazine Vol.2, & 3”, “Poetry of S.O.U.L. An anthology of selected works from Poets around the world”, “Word Stock” and “Delirious, A Poetic Celebration of Prince.”
Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
1. What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
I was in 7th grade and a person from the City of Erie School District came into our English class. They said they were taking a SAMPLER of students across the district to create a small magazine. We were asked to write a poem. I knew what poetry was. I was also very familiar with beautiful language as my mother was a stunning reader and loved The Just So stories and Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The week previous to this exercise was punctuated with the death in the Vietnam war of my friends brother.
My first poem was
The green grass covered hill
The wind blowing the still
That stood like towers
Straight and tall
For a world so small
The men in Vietnam
Are tired of the fighting, the dying, and the ever- lasting crying
So, we go to our hill
Where the wind blows the still lavender flowers
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
Well my mother to the beauty of language, and I guess the school district for asking me to write a poem, which I had never done.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
Well I am just now really starting to dig into deceased poets. I had laid my writing down during a very tumultuous 17 year abusive marriage. I met a poet in 1999 who really changed a lot for me. He encouraged me to sit in coffee shops and nature. He encouraged writing workshops to hone what I do. Craig Czurry from the Wilkes Barre area really gave me the confidence to believe in my words. I had spent 17 years being told nothing I had to say had meaning, so this was huge for me.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t write daily, But as often as I can. I have a brain injury that occurred in 2008 from a fall at work. So, I am extremely grateful for any writing. I easily could have died, been brain dead or a paraplegic. So, am thrilled that I still have it!
5. What motivates you to write?
Ultimately, either beauty or pure ugliness. The ugly usually comes from the behaviour of some abusive individual. I have a lot of poetry on domestic violence that I use to help other women realize they are not alone. Help is out there and many of us have walked in their shoes. I teach prevention and might I add, that I teach abusers are of all sexual orientations, colors and bank accounts!
6. What is your work ethic?
I have always been a diligent and hard worker. Whether it be for a job or writing. I am old enough that I go back to packing up manuscripts into large manilla envelopes, paying postage, and waiting and waiting to never hear a thing! I have written ten romance novels, eight to ten poetry manuscripts, and numerous stories. I am now embracing electronic successes.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I sometimes see the sing song of Rudyard in what I write. I do not hunt it down and make it happen, it just appears like the leopard who got his spots. I work hard to not fall into all the rhyming, but enjoy the reward of one that is well placed.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I will always admire Craig Czurry and all his international interpretations.
Locally there are a few that I love to follow. Matt Borczon, and how he has taken terrible experiences and made them relatable to others, while healing himself. I think I relate because I was able to heal my own heart from the scars of domestic violence through writing it out. I use my first chapbook, “Love and Licorice Whips” to this day to help women who are escaping.
Cee Williams has always been a great writer. In the last two years he has lost his mother and beloved dog Rocky. He has transcended to great ness while exposing his soul in loss.
Marjorie Wonner, a grand elder lady who writes of the days gone by. She has attended many workshops and classes. She expertly writes of an era I admire.
I have recently become aware of Scott Thomas Outlar and his poetry that transcends to a time in my life where I thought we could all love our way out of wars and conflict. I just love hearing him read.
Sean Thomas Dougherty and his poem Why Bother has become like a mantra to me.
9. Why do you write?
I have to. It saved my life when I escaped domestic violence. Forgive me, but poetry was like squeezing the puss out of a boil for a long time. I have learned to write more objectively about those days, but I am not sure those poems are as effective.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Put your pen to paper, or nowadays fingers on keyboard. If you cant get something down? Maybe you just are not going to be a writer. Personally, for me, it had always flowed pretty effortlessly.
I was at a workshop about ekphrastic poetry. I was shown a pic of a local statue I had yet to see. Within seven minutes I had my poem, Fruits of Our Labor.
Fruits of Our Labor
Horse –powered shoes clamber and climb higher, dragging my world out of the mire of obscene politics
The jewel of the Great Lakes has slipped down from our crown
Tenuous up-cycled metal bulging and straining to bring
our town back from the precipice of extinction
Vacationers come to our Lakeshore
to watch our unemployed re-educate
Machinist nurses, paper makers making burgers Do you want fries with that?
Where are we at?
Oh equine of equity
How do we drag ourselves back to relevancy?
With the same hard work and hardened hands that
BUILT THIS CITY
When the first horse and wagon wandered to the edge of our great lake
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I just finished a project that I embarked on with my step-son and his son. They are phenomenal photographers. At Christmas they showed me some photos they had recently taken and I was immediately inspired to write a couple pieces of poetry. I showed them my poems and explained Ekphrastic poetry to them. We all got excited. Alien Buddha Press just released POETOGRAPHY last week. Ronald Tregaskis, Cullen Tregaskis, and Thasia Anne. It is available on Amazon, along with my books Broken Branches, and The Past is Calling.
If you have any follow up questions let me know. Hope I didn’t get too lengthy here.