Everyone has a story to tell; each one of us writes poetry – some, without even realising. That stream of consciousness that runs in our veins? It’s poetry waiting to be written. We believe in the power of words, and that power is what urged us set up PoetsIN.
It’s because of those inner streams, that we are bringing you all a regular interview feature, Writer Profiles. An interview with a writer. This week it’s the fabulous Bruce.
Sit back, grab yourself a cuppa, and feast your eyes on this week’s writer profile.
What is your relationship with words and how did that evolve?
The beginning of words for me really began when I was read Nursery Rhymes, taught Tongue Twisters, and read fables and fairy tales. Words took me to another world, one filled with sounds and wonders of imagination. Take for instance the tongue twister, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. In that opening salvo of sound comes a multitude of questions that only a child could ask. Who is Peter? Does he really play a pipe? What is a peck? What are pickled peppers? That is where it began for me.
It is much the same today for me with words. To think that an assortment of lines and curves, we call the alphabet, can convey such sound and meaning is a true wonder! I take that for granted most of the time, yet it is a cause for wonder. Now I write out words and feel there inherent power. I wrestle with their meanings. I run the sounds over in my head and wait for the tickle of teeth and smack of the lips as they pass from my thoughts into the air. Words written are great, read aloud they feel beautiful. Spell like, I remain entranced by it all. Yes, I find a open ended romance with language. And I do not shy away from that position.
How long have you been writing, what is your favourite style of writing and why?
I have been writing creatively since high school, that would be the 1970’s. Short fiction, essays on the natural world and free verse poetry are among the top styles of writing that occupy me. I enjoy the distillation of thought to achieve an understanding of emotion. Much modern poetry has a confessional voice to it. And it helps penetrate the complex emotions which can overwhelm and leave us like the figure in Edward Munch’s painting, The Scream… a voiceless terror facing the unspeakable. Ultimately, I enjoy reading good writing and I strive to write as well in return. The beauty of free verse poetry works best for me.
I would like to add, that while much of what I write is confessional, it is by no means autobiographical. It seems to me, in order to answer my questions poetry provides the clearest road. Will I ever come to an absolute truth? It is unlikely, but I am compelled to continue on. I think that poetry asks and answers all the big questions of life. (See Peter Piper…)
Many of us within this group have experienced times where writing has helped us overcome times of pain, describe the first times you realized the true power of words.
Man, oh man! This is a hard one to answer.
I have wrestled with depression most of my life, and for a long time it was undiagnosed. And it was so because I refused to discuss it with anyone; friends, lovers, medical professionals. I felt some satisfaction when I wrote a piece with which another person could relate. Sure, it was my interior struggle, but I was able to reach out through those words and find I was not alone. When I was 22, a poem I had written for a friend had been framed and was on display for sometime at her shop. I didn’t think it was that good, but for her it resonated and I found that I was able to see beyond the confines of my depression.
Many writers love to read. What is your favourite book and why?
True. I enjoy reading very much. To write is to read, as letters are to sounds. The are linked like this for me.
Moby Dick or The Whale, by Herman Melville, is without a doubt my most enjoyed book. It is a complex, fun, satirical, and beautiful book. It is a part of me. I imprinted on it when I was 17. And it has been with me ever since. I read from it almost daily. It is a constant companion and provides me no end to a sense of wonder.
Sum up yourself with a haiku or micro-poem.
You say that I am lost
Gone too faraway from you
Fallen leaves cover my path
We all have moments where we truly connect with words we read. What quote inspires you the most? Why?
“I believe the world is beautiful
And that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.”
This is by Roque Dalton from his poem, “Like You”, translated by Jack Hirscham.
The universal language of poetry is for everyone. It doesn’t need to strangled in academia. Poetry needs to run free and be spoken by all. It is a daily need like food. Democratic and earthy, this line fills me with desire to write!
Describe your writing process.
Many notes on scraps of paper, texts to myself, and lots of paper. Waste can. Delete button.
Often it is a focus on a emotion, a sensation.
When I find a cute turn of phrase that is smart and witty, I kill it. And if I am really on point, I kill it really fast. Writing feels like a full contact sport.
I remind myself, often, that I know very little.
I write until I cannot see.
It is a messy process full of coffee and cigarettes.
It happens daily.
I have three people who will tell me if my writing is crap. I love them dearly.
Writer’s block, real or myth?
Depends. Deadlines make short work of blocks if you want that paycheck.
Writing for myself is necessity.
If I am stuck on piece, I will leave it and work on another piece. This allows my subconscious bits to mull over the issue(s).
I do take breaks from writing. New environments and new people, can be overwhelming, and in that I rest from writing until I understand better what’s happening. It is a choice.
Fear, though, is a very real thing.
What is your favourite word?
Friend, such a small word for such an important person to me.
Finish this sentence, words are the epitome….
of bright frost, which is scaled across a window pane of a small cottage tucked away in the woods beside a blue stream.
Huge thanks go out to the wonderful Bruce, who will be publishing a book next year. We’ll check in again and provide you all with the links to that as soon as it becomes available.