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.
Patricia Carragon’s recent publications include Bear Creek Haiku, First Literary Review-East, A Gathering of the Tribes, The Café Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetrybay, and Krytyka Literacka. Her latest books are The Cupcake Chronicles (Poets Wear Prada, 2017) and Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Patricia hosts the Brooklyn-based Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology. She is an executive editor for Home Planet News Online.
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
As a child, I would write and illustrate a make-believe newspaper. However, I wasn’t encouraged to write until the early ’90s when I wrote witty pitches for my Brunch ’n Fun social activities at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan. One friend encouraged me to explore my literary muse. Another friend said that my eulogy for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had poetic resonance.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
As a child, I admired Emily Dickinson, but found it impossible to write poetry. It was until my adult years that l started writing, thanks to people who believed that I have the gift for words.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
Starting out on the poetry circuit in the Fall of 2003, most of the poets were older. I’ve befriended several older poets who offered guidance and support. They taught me what I needed to learn, therefore grooming me to be the poet that I am today.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have a daily routine, because, unlike some writers, I don’t need it. I have a very busy schedule between my job, life, my Brownstone Poets Reading series, et al. When I don’t have the time to sit down and focus on my craft, I need not worry, because when I do, my muse works overtime.
5. What motivates you to write?
Dreams, listening to music, riding the subways, and life’s experiences.
6. What is your work ethic?
My work ethic is constant. I’m always in motion, whether it may be writing, working at my job, cleaning house, running errands, cooking, baking, snapping pictures, and more. I like to keep busy and as a night owl, I tend to do my best work at night.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
When I read works by Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, I’ve learned that metaphors and words express emotion. Sometimes, you can say less and mean more, like Ernest Hemingway and Matsuo Basho, especially in writing haiku.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most
I’m into books by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. I can relate to his work since I’m currently exploring my usage of dreams and the metaphysical world in my poems, haiku, and fiction.
9. Why do you write?
Because I want to and need to, especially with the rise of the “Me Too” movement. For me, words allow the imagination to guide the hand in writing down the voice from within. Writing is a safe flight into my darkest moments and other forbidden territories with me at the controls. By using words on paper, they become puppets. Through these puppets, I can express any deep-rooted fear or desire. These emotions and ideas, whether dark or light, are beautified, and the afterimages that they produce are rewarding and uplifting.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
There is no “how to” method. Everyone has their own way. For me, it took encouragement from friends. If I don’t write today, the muse will be back another day, and inspiration would rise almost sevenfold.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I have completed my second novel, “What Hasn’t Happened Yet” before New Year’s Day and plan to have it professionally edited later this year. My first novel, “Angel Fire” is currently being submitted to various small presses for publication. I’m working on a cat haiku chapbook, as well as a collection of music-inspired poems.