Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers 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.
is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. His two collections, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) and Worth the Candle (Five Oaks Press), and a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press), are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publishers.
Here is a link to his Amazon Author Page:
1. What inspires you to keep writing poetry?
A noble insanity compels me to continue this difficult quest even when only a dedicated few may wind up reading (or less, if it never gets published). There is an inherent love of language, of the vocable tradition, of storytelling, and flashes of confidence and intelligence that are my pilot lights even during long winter nights when the elusive poetic muse has absconded. I cannot help but write, and for the past several years, poetry has been the medium of choice. I read and write, experience the tragedy and comedy that life has to offer, and must at times remind myself that creativity is its own reward. The odds are long, longer, and longer yet. But this is not a numbers game. Bask in the good life of this semi-obscurity; it does not last forever.
2. Who first introduced you to poetry?
Sounds like a criminal interrogation here. Who was it? Come on, name names. Was it that Dr. Seuss guy, Hugh Prather, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Bukowski, Catullus, Wordsworth, Shelley, Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, Browning, Tennyson, Ginsberg, Hopkins, Shakespeare? ‘Fess up, boy. We can find out. Well there is a picture of me as a toddler carrying a copy of R.L. Stevenson’s A Childhood Garden of Verses – so that might have been my first literal introduction. However, my existence is forever intermingled with popular music – so lyrics were my poetry long before any real academic how-do-you-dos. Truth: every time I read something new, I am hoping to be re-introduced all over again.
3. How aware are you of the dominating presence of older poets?
I am a teacher, so such domination is inescapable (and at times, most welcome). In any five-day poetry forecast, there’s always a front of past older poets approaching (some causing greater storms than others). Some provide inspiration, or perhaps stylistic challenges. For instance, this past April I wrote something on this hypothetical premise: what would Gerard Manley Hopkins have written if his obsession was graffiti artists. Let those who came before help guide you on your own path of words and phrases (and see if it will indeed make all the difference).
4. What is your daily writing routine?
During the school year, it is extremely hard to keep to any daily writing practice. Instead, the poetry builds up inside until such time as I have to make time, discover the magic of creation anew, and of course then follow through with edits, revisions, and the oft-lengthy process of submitting and re-submitting. I try to challenge myself to send new work out for submission at all times and always to read more than I could ever write. I am fortunate to teach literature to others, so I am living in the world of words and thoughts always.
5. What motivates you to write?
An innate desire to tell stories and an ego that sometimes convinces me they are worth sharing with others.
6. What is your work ethic?
Learn from others always – challenge yourself to try new things in your writing – never settle for less – believe what resonates from the criticism and praise you might accrue along the journey – and listen carefully to what those voices in your head are saying. Trust them – they might be muses.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
That is hard to ascertain. I still read as much as I can, for no influence is wasted — and the more you experience, the better your own writing will be. I try to revisit my favorite writers when time allows.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
There are too many to list here, but I will state why I admire them. Many of them are brutally honest and unafraid, and can find ways to convey humor and humanity through powerful and playful communication. Poetry is the new journalism. We can relate the world’s problems through beautiful precise language – and perhaps get closer to understanding this life through discovering solutions that first untie us, then unite us.
9. Why do you write?
It is not a conscious choice – it is what I have always done – non-fiction, short stories, poetry, playwriting, songwriting, and more – there is no why. Writing lets me slay the inner demons, explore the fantastical notions, show aspects that might remain hidden otherwise, and play. I experiment, I grow, I incorporate, I create. It’s a coping strategy to educate, entertain, interpret and translate. It’s a means of survival. I like to write; I have to write. It is who I am.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
You write. If you have to ask that question, perhaps you are not cut out for this. It’s a process. Read always, write, edit, never give up on yourself. Remember that every rejection brings you closer to the next acceptance. Work hard and be lucky. Enjoy!
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
Currently, I am assembling my next full-length collection, hoping to find a press that believes in my particular brand of expression. The years have been kind and I am still growing and learning as a poet. Recently, I crossed the threshold of having my 400th published poem. That’s a good start. I remain eager for what comes next.