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.
Linda Imbler is an internationally published poet. Her paperback poetry collections include “Big Questions, Little Sleep,” and “Lost and Found,” both available at amazon.com. Her first e-book “The Sea’s Secret Song” can be purchased at the site:
Linda’s newest e-book “Pairings” is due out soon, also from Soma Publishing. She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize Nominee for “Ensorcelled Within the Moonlit Eyes of P’aqo” (2017) and a Best of the Net Nominee for “The Value of Shadows” and “Guitar.” (2018) Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
The “what-ifs.” I have always enjoyed the challenge of taking a photographic image, a word, a quote, a philosophical statement, an experience, and imagining a what-if in response to it. And, especially to take one of the previously listed items and use beautiful words to describe it, even if the object or subject itself is depressing, terrifying, painful, or intimidating. Taking what has invited itself into my world and turning it into something that I no longer mind looking at or hearing about has given me a channel for some relief from sorrow, pain, grief and other negative emotions.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
I was introduced to poetry by teachers when I was very young. As a young girl, I used to write poetry about what I observed in nature. Back then, everything had to rhyme. I made my own poetry books from paper, cardboard, and shiny wrapping paper.
As I went into my teens, I began to hear poetry through music lyrics. This is when I began to jot images and thoughts in response to what was happening around me. This influence was huge, and this visceral response to life still continues to be the impetus for much of my poetry. I have been influenced by the lyrics of those whom I consider to be some of the greatest songwriters ever: Bob Dylan (I can’t stress it enough, he is my heart pirate), Gordon Lightfoot, Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, John Denver, Jim Croce, Paul Simon, Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Sam Cooke, James Taylor, Willie Dixon, Bernie Taupin, Al Green, David Bowie, Dolly Parton, Woody Guthrie, Lou Reed, Kate Bush, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Bob Marley, and Stevie Wonder.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
I’m going to assume you are asking about the old masters, so will answer this way. Until someone comes up with a new and brilliant untried style, or even new ideas never explored, the old masters will reign: Robert Frost, Shakespeare, Paul Dunbar, T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda, John Donne, William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Philip Larkin, Maya Angelou, and Li Bai.
All of these people contributed to the beauty of the world through their poetic styles. And to me, that is what poetry is; music, bearing rhythm but without notes, that contributes to that beauty. Even if one writes political poetry, there should still be beauty therein. Case in point, my poem “Year Among the Stars” was written about pro-immunization for babies and kids. It is a beautiful poem that tells a sad story and, at the same time, gets the point across.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I do the majority of my writing in the dead of night, so the days are merely set aside for editing, submissions, and rewrites.
How I proceed with each piece is quite standard from poem to poem:
First draft, then rewrites, as many as it takes. Finally, when I have said what I want to say in the way that I want to say it, I will take my handwritten papers to my Mac and use dictation to type out the poems.
This is most important because my poems are meant to be read, but in addition, they are meant to be spoken, and they are meant to be heard.
5. What motivates you to write?
Much of my writing is a visceral reaction to what is happening around me. Or, it might be the result of a niggling memory that simply won’t stop tapping me on the shoulder. In a few cases, I have written pieces because a friend or family member has commented on an event and remarked, “Linda, I think there’s a poem there.” And, they are always right!
I also enjoy writing about things that interest me. I have a lot of interest in languages, philosophy, music, animals, geography, and spirituality.
On several occasions, I have challenged myself to write a piece with only one word as the launching point. This happened with the word “lambent” that I saw in a crossword puzzle. I wrote the entire poem, “Tomb” around that one word. That poem just poured out of me. It was one of my earliest compositions, and I am still very proud of it because it’s very circular and so complete. (Tomb is published in ‘Big Questions, Little Sleep.)
6. What is your work ethic?
The only way I am able to get any writing done and published is because I have a strong work ethic, am extremely organized, and have a very good memory. And, If I tell someone I’m going to do something, I do it. I have many things to accomplish during the day. I help my husband build classical guitars as well as play them, I practice Yoga and Tai Chi for my health, I read one book every week. I go to live music concerts. If one of my friends calls off the cuff and suggests we need to go have an adventure, I’m all in, unless I’m in the middle of lutherie with Mike.
I will not write about living and forget to live.
All that being said, I always have several writing projects going on and I am sometimes amazed at the huge body of work I have already created in three years. Having that large box of scribblings collected over the years and finally sorting through those has paid off. And, I seem to add to that box daily.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
Let’s just say that I use them to my advantage by studying their work. This does not mean that I can or do write like they did. What is it about each of these heroes that inspires? Some of them use rhyme to such a brilliant extent, some write in gorgeous flowery language, and some have written all their poetry in a particular classical style. I also have made it a hard and fast rule that the style must fit the poem and not the other way around. This has required me to study different styles (Pantoum, Triolet Tanka, free verse) and to learn to appreciate the words of many different poets, as well as the ‘shape’ of those words. So in essence, for me, poetry is a form of synthesia.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
In general, all those who are not emoting hate.
Christopher Villiers for telling rhyming stories about the Bible in such an elegant and academic way.
Ken Allan Dronsfield for his picturesque nature poems and the fact that he is not afraid to try new styles.
J.D. Bouciquot for his hypnotic use of repetition and his interesting takes on the world.
Mark Antony Rossi for his honest world views and his marvelously succinct memories of his life experiences.
Scott Thomas Outlar for being the undisputed king of the esoteric.
Glory Sasikala for outstanding metaphor.
Robert Feldman for sharing his heritage with such glorious style.
William (Bill) P. Cushing for writing about music and memories with such joy and talent.
Christine Tabaka for using the beauty of words in Haiku and Senryu.
Ahmad Alkhatat for beautifully written poetry with a hint of sadness and nostalgia, but a large degree of hope mixed in.
Blanca Alicia Garcia for some of the finest contemporary love poems.
John Patrick Robbins for being gently irreverent without spite or malice.
Aakash Sagar Chouhan because everything about his poetry is amazing.
Asoke Kumar Mitra for the incredible romantic style and beauty of his work.
Eliza Segiet for successfully writing what can be translated well from her native Polish into English without losing the essence and gravity of the words.
Sofia Kioroglou for the same reason as Eliza, but with the Greek language.
Misty Milwee for poems written with grace and incorporating art into each piece.
Sourav Soukar for writing with such earnestness.
Margaret O’Driscoll for stunning nature poetry with true Irish lilt.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan for writing about life with such honesty and texture.
Mike Griffith for the vividness in his poetry.
Michael Lee Johnson for having such a unique voice and using multi-media so effectively to share his work.
I know I left out too many. Please forgive me and know that I still love you and your work!
9. Why do you write?
This is such an important reflective question. I will do my best to give it the consideration it is due. I suppose, first and foremost, it’s my way to make sense of the world and to organize memories. It helps me from feeling transitory. In some instances, writing allows me to memorialize some person, a thing, or some event. It doesn’t hurt to mention that it’s a terrific way to exorcise personal demons. If I wish to be truly creative, writing also lets me see things from another’s point of view. In several instances, I have practiced writing from a different point of view, and the results were quite astonishing.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
The prerequisite to becoming a writer is to be an avid reader. Reading exposes one to styles, vocabulary, and the use of words. Reading is the most effective way to gain insights and ideas. These can be combined with your life experiences to form the seeds of writing.
The act of writing itself is a craft and can only be learned by doing. So write, write, write. Share your writing with those whom you trust to give you constructive criticism rather than just compliments.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I have just completed my fourth poetry collection, the e-book “Pairings,” soon to be published by Soma Publishing, I had published quite a bit of short fiction, in addition to my many poems. I thought, why not put the two together? All my previous collections are somehow themed. The e-book “Pairings” is not themed, but each short fiction piece has been loosely coupled to a poem. It was a fun and very interesting way for me to present my work. I believe the readers will be pleased with the outcome.
I am now going through my unfinished poems and completing them for submission. It has been several weeks since I submitted any work anywhere (ack)! So, I need to get busy. I’m also preparing for a huge poetry reading that I will be doing next summer. And, I am working on a PowerPoint for lessons on writing poetry that I will be teaching to some groups of 4th graders in the area.
“Inside Spica’s Frequency” will be released in late 2019. I am creating, gathering, and organizing work for that book now. This book will address a lot more of those what-ifs.
Thank you so much, Paul, for inviting me to share my thoughts!