Julie A. Dickson is a poet and author of several books including, Bullied into Silence [Piscataqua Press 2014] and Untumbled Gem [Goldfish Press 2016] Dickson holds a BPS in Behavioral Science, is a Push Cart nominee, has served on two poetry boards, has coordinated 100 Thousand Poets for Change and served as guest editor for Jitter Press and Inwood Indiana, co-editor for My Funny Bones are Humor-us by R.M. Staples and as editor/curator of Prey Tell: Poems about Birds of Prey. Her work appears in over 50 journals, including Misfit, MasticadoresUSA, Girl God, Tiger Moth and Ekphrastic Review. Dickson writes poetry from many prompts such as art, nature, literature and animals. She advocates for captive zoo and circus elephants, and shares her home with two rescued cats.
- When and why did you start writing poetry?
I began writing poetry as a young teen, although I had for several years prior to age 12 written stories. I was an early reader of books; my mother was a kindergarten teacher who walked me to the public library three times each week, where I was allowed to take out as many books as I could carry. I loved Dr.Suess, and many chapter books including Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty and the Cricket in Times Square. As a teen I read novels, biographies and poetry. I took many creative writing classes in high school, entered contests and sent stories and poems into magazines. I was teen, whose mother did not drive, living in a rural area where babysitting and reading were my main past times. English, writing and history have always been my favorite subjects in both high school and college.
- Who introduced you to poetry?
I suppose that between the public librarian, school librarians and my mother were all an influence on me being introduced to poetry.
- How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?
By the time I entered high school, I had a 9th grade English teacher who encouraged me to write more, and I became aware of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, Yeats, Keats and others.
- What is your daily writing routine?
I am an early riser and it is my routine to sit at my desk with tea or coffee and write each morning for a couple hours. I find that my mind is fresh this time of day, more so than later.
- What subjects motivate you to write?
I often write to prompts, such as art, music, literature, nature, memories, teen issues and environment. I find myself able to write about most topics, have attended countless workshops and retreats, have been a member of several poetry groups, served on two volunteer poetry boards, coordinated 100 Thousand Poets for Change for 5 years in my community and have done readings at open mics, poetry meetings, bookstores, schools and libraries.
- What is your work ethic?
I have always had a strong work ethic, whether I am in a paid position, a volunteer or simply writing and doing tasks on my own. Writing is not work to me, it’s what I do.
- How do the writers you read when you were young influence your work today?
My taste in books changes periodically, from mysteries, modern fiction, to poetry, non-fiction and historical books. My poetry has evolved from strict form poems to free verse and I often explore new forms when I write poetry now.
- Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
The contemporary poets I admire today include Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Donald Hall, Richard Blanco, and Amanda Gorman. There are so many
I just admire their work, their writing talents. I once did a presentation on Maya Angelou at a Women Poets festival where I live. I took a workshop with Richard Blanco a couple years ago. Mostly I like their work.
The answer is different for each…in that Maya Angelou and Amanda Gorman’s work is more progressive, political, about world acceptance. Mary Oliver is a good model for people learning to write better. I like Billy Collins for the romance and humor.
- Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
I write because I have been writing for most of my life. I cannot imagine not writing poetry, creative non-fiction, YA fiction. I have also written children’s books. I write what I know, what I feel, and what I remember.
- What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I’ve been asked this question a few times and my response has usually been, if you are a writer, you just write. I don’t know how to advise someone on how to become a writer. My suggestion is to do a journal or free-write each day, and take pieces that are meaningful from your words. They can become poems or stories about your life, your interests and the world.
- Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I have concentrated for the past 5 years primarily on writing poetry, creative non-fiction and stories for submission into journals and magazines. In 2022, I had over 100 poetry acceptances. My work appears in over 50 journals now, and I often locate new journals to submit to. I have been a guest editor at 3 publications and have also edited two poetry collections and a book of memoirs. I have 2-3 poetry and chapbooks in-progress, as well as a new YA fiction book and a children’s book on deck. There are never enough hours in a day for me to do all that I want to with my writing.