Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Nolcha Fox

















Nolcha Fox

Nolcha’s poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Alien Buddha Zine, Medusa’s Kitchen, and others. Her poetry books are available on Amazon. Nominee for 2023 Best of The Net. Editor for Open Arts Forum. Accidental interviewer/reviewer. Faker of fake news.

Website: https://bit.ly/3bT9tYu

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I wrote some ghastly poetry when I was journalling in my 30s. I tossed all my journals in a trash bin (years and years of writing), and thought I was done with it. Unfortunately, I gave my mother copies of some of the poems. She sent them to me recently. I was so appalled, I wanted to blast out of the universe.

I started writing poetry seriously a little over a year ago, and was astonished that editors wanted to publish it. One of my dear friends (an incredibly talented poet herself) suggested that I try it because it wouldn’t strain my very soggy brain. I was recovering from 7 years of migraines and the medication that only made me feel worse, and I simply didn’t have the focus to go back to short story writing.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I don’t remember when or how it happened, but as a child, I fell in love with the rhythm/rhyme and pure silly fun of Dr. Seuss books. I graduated to Alice in Wonderland, and was enchanted by its poetry, some of which I can still recite by heart decades later.

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I am aware enough of traditional poets, but I’m not much attracted to their work. Considering how much I loved the singsong rhymes in my childhood, it amazes me how difficult it is for me to read through much of it.

However, I love Edgar Allen Poe’s poems (I have a streak of dark in me) and Robert Frost poems. I don’t know if you’d call them traditional or contemporary. My sense of time is fractured, and I’m not at all scholarly about poetry.

I’m still discovering contemporary poets. I run across them in workshops and writing groups. First things every morning, I read works from other poets. Some motivate me to write a response poem.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I usually write in the early morning. But it’s not unusual for me to write early evening and to get out of bed around midnight and write some more.

5. What subjects motivate you to write?

I prefer to write from prompts. Prompts can be images, a phrase, a word, another poet’s poem, or something that happened during the day. I can write about almost any subject, including dust bunnies, vampires, Big Foot, and penguins.

I’m a big fan of Medusa’s Kitchen, and I publish there at least twice a week. Kathy Kieth, the editor, has a great list of prompts. She also posts a new phrase or word prompt on Tuesdays, and an ekphrastic challenge on Fridays.

I always participate in the April NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). Several sites post a new prompt every day in April.

In November, Writers Digest holding a Poem A Day challenge, posting a new prompt every day. At the end of the month, poets can submit a 10-poem chapbook to Writers Digest, culled from the poems written during the month. I’m so on it!

6. What is your work ethic?

I write like my hair is on fire. My poems are typically short, and once I get going on a poem, I can typically finish it within 10 minutes.

If a poem is truly bad but I might be able to salvage something from it, I put it aside. If it’s irredeemable, it goes bye-bye.

I do hit a slump sometimes, where no poem wants to associate with me and flees to another continent. Occasionally, writing about not being able to write gets me excited. Usually, I slump around and moan that I’ll never write again until the day the muse smacks me on the cheek, and I go back to poeming.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today?

Seuss and Poe and Carroll burned rhythm into my bones. Most of my poetry, if read out loud, tastes like a heartbeat or a train clattering down a track.

8. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I don’t have a favorite writer, probably because I’m leery of writing exactly the same as that person (it’s easy for me to become a mimic). It’s taken me most of my life to write like me.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Writing is an obsession. I’ve written all my life. Even when I pretended writing wasn’t important, I was obsessed with it.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I would tell that person to just sit down and write. And write. And write.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m currently collaborating with Ken Tomaro, and collaborating on and off with a previous co-worker who now is painting in watercolor. As I receive requests, I interview literary magazine editors, authors, and artists. I also have to work on more fake news flashes for The Gorko Gazette.

12. How did you decide on the order of the poems in the book?

Don’t laugh, I’m making life as easy as possible for my crazy brain – they’re in alphabetical order. Easier to keep track of.

13. How did you choose the photos for “How To Get Me Up In The Morning” or was that a collaborative effort?

My collaborator chose photos based on the poems. Jill typically gave me 1-3 photos to chose from.

13.1.  What ideas did you use to make the choice?

I chose the best photo based on how it related to the poem. I also considered colors and composition. And humor.

14. Why did you decide to use figures like Icarus from old myths and legends in this book?

I wanted to submit to Lothlorien Poetry Journal. My first read of the site was that Strider was looking for poetry with a classical theme, so I decided to work up some poems around myths and legends. At about the same time, a poetry prompt wandered across my computer screen, having to do with Icarus. Wings. Birds. Ah, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” That’s how “Flight School” came about.

15. How important is white space to your poetry?

I see white space as breathing space, a frame of possibilities around the words.

When I read poetry that doesn’t have much white space, including prose, I have a physical reaction of claustrophobia, and I struggle to breathe as I read.

15.1.  White space as a reason for your preference for short form poetry?

White space is an important factor. My aim is to present one thought, one focus, using words that will make my readers think. Or at least laugh.

15.2. One thought, one focus, rather than an exploration of that thought or focus?

I leave it up to the reader to explore that thought or focus. I’ve been amazed at the varied responses to my poetry. People have considered things that didn’t cross my mind.

15.3. What appeals to you about this epigrammatic form?

It’s fun to write, and hopefully fun to read. Sometimes I can even wrap something important in the humor.

15.4. Why is it fun to write?

I love putting word images together in new (and often humorous) ways.

15.5. What is important about including humour?

As my husband says, we take ourselves too seriously. The world is so full of gloom and doom and conflict, why add more to the world? A smile is so much more pleasant.

16. After having read your book what do you wish the reader to leave with?

I want the reader to read it again. And again. Some of my readers contact me and tell me that’s what they do.

For people who don’t eat poetry with breakfast, I want them to lick their lips and say, “That tasted good!” and eat another poetry book. Perhaps one of my other books (shameless advertising). Perhaps a book by another poet.

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