When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover that you wanted to write poems? When I was about 18, I developed a weird hunch that I wanted to write poetry, but I didn’t really know how to get started. One problem was that I hadn’t found any poets whose...
When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover that you wanted to write poems? I fell in love with poetry in high school but as a reader, not a writer. Over the years I would read poetry, primarily what I think of as the “classics” for well-educated...
When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover that you wanted to write poems? Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, when I was 18. It spoke deeply to something within me that lit this proverbial lamp of remembrance, something about the metaphysics of poetry...
When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover that you wanted to write poems? My earliest encounters with poetry were through the Bible. As a young person raised Catholic the poems and songs of that ritualistic life were my first major exposure to...
“What excites me most about Unheard Whispers, my collection of poems on growing up in an alcoholic home, is that part of the proceeds is going to the Robert F. Kennedy Community Alliance here in Massachusetts and their division that helps children and families affected by addiction. In the disease of addiction, so much funding and support go to the addicts themselves. While this is needed, the children of addicts often are forgotten.” — Dianne C. Braley
“IN/DESIDERATO is a book-length poem that, at its heart, is a meditation on the nature of the world we’re leaving behind, both in terms of our collective successes and our failures. The title is a Latinate mangling of my own that loosely translates to ‘un/desirable,’ meaning both the light and dark opposites of that phrasing, and the book is dedicated to and largely addressed to my children.” — Jon D. Lee
“I fell in love with words; they ran away with me. Discipline followed, born of delight—in ‘getting the words right”: a slow apprenticeship. It takes time to learn how to name your gait, ask for a lead on a canter, command a lope, a trot, a fourteener, scuttle the chatter to trip a tetrameter, settle back into ballad measure.” — Martin Edmunds
“Writing poetry for me is a kind of meditation. I try to access this strange place in my brain, and I don’t always have the key. I think my better poems are when that door opens and I start piecing phrases and thoughts together.” — Kate Hanson Foster
“I wasn’t just writing about the earth, but the earth as a body, deep time and time travel, but more so about myself and my heart—learning to see myself through stages of recognition, voice, transformation and renewal. In retrospect, much of this was a study of spending time in the unfamiliar to allow what feels like disaster or quest to turn into a renewed understanding of strength, certainty and self-love.” — Kristian Macaron
“One of the things I like to make time for is writing out a poem by hand. It’s something I recommend to folks as it places us in a similar silence as the act of writing a poem ourselves. It also slows us down and has us paying attention to words.” — José Araguz
“I first fell in love with poetry as a child. Poetry was everywhere, as it is for all kids: in nursery rhymes and playground jump rope songs. When I learned that people wrote books—poetry and otherwise—I knew that I wanted to write.” — DeMisty D. Bellinger
“It’s been astonishing to have entered each poem individually, and then to discover that they were interacting with each other. I love the dynamic process of discovering connections I didn’t realize were there. It’s as if the poems have a life of their own, and reach across the book to reflect on one another.” — Rebecca Kaiser Gibson
“It took me a while to understand that a poet isn’t defined by complex metaphors or the way they present their work…a poet is only defined as and by the person whose name and essence stamp those stanzas and similes. So in short, don’t let what you think hold you back. Let what you know push you forward.” — Anjalequa Birkett
“People say (poets say) they write poems because they have to. It’s not a choice. Poetry is how they are able to move through the world. Poetry helps me get out from under the farce of the world. It helps me get out from under the weight of my existence, and my complicity in the cycle.” — AR Dugan
“My hope is that this project inspires other writers and artists, especially BIPOC folks, queer people, disabled people, and others who have been marginalized in the literary and art communities, to develop new ways of releasing work into the world. There is a myriad of ways we can dream up to engage with capitalism differently and to create and deepen community. That’s what I’m most excited about.”
“You hold type in your hands, and that type is energy, captured. Energy that was input to make type can sit waiting in cases for decades, and be used over and over with no additional energy input needed.”
What is your writing process like?
Mariya Deykute: Sporadic and flexible. I have two young children, and a full-time job, so writing happens around that. Sometimes it’s a half hour in the morning, sometimes fifteen minutes on the playground, sometimes in whatsapp messages with myself on my phone. There are times when I think it makes for the best kind of writing — free from the doubt and hesitation that a freer schedule used to bring, and sometimes I fall into a pit of despair that leaves me wondering if I am losing the chance to write the great American novel because I’m not on a desert island with a typewriter. Normal stuff. Mostly, though, when the going is good, I find that my writing process is often something like a secret affair or obsession, something I waltz with on time stolen from my regular work; something I pursue with feverish impatience when the rest of the house is asleep.
“I prefer clumsy preservation of everything to no preservation at all, and once I’m distant enough to gain perspective, I can see what I was trying to do in that clumsy mess.” — Jae Kim
“This book began with an intense desire to counter the witch kitsch narratives of Salem, MA, but as I wrote those poems my vision for the book evolved and became more complicated. I discovered that the book wanted/needed to connect that history with contemporary events that were both personal and political.”
“I think prose poems are more approachable, more “democratic,” than much of lineated contemporary poetry because of their ease of reading. Even people who don’t like poetry can approach a prose poem, or micro fiction, because these look like almost everything else they read. I think the unassuming appearance of prose poems adds to their disruptive and startling moments.”
When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover that you wanted to write poems? My stepmother is the Massachusetts poet Christopher Jane Corkery, so being a poet was something I knew was a real thing from childhood, when she came into my life. I...