Is there one subject you feel you return to in your writing?
Since I started writing again – there was about a five-year hiatus there – I’ve found myself addressing past trauma, which is definitely something I avoided before. With this, has come a recurring theme of body – that special storage unit for trauma. I’m pretty sure throat, gut, and hands make their way into my work fairly often, those sneaky buggers.
How do you feel about traditional poems and free verse? Which do you feel fits the present time? Can they coincide within one poem?
Every poet worth their salt is going to experiment. This means haikus, limericks, acrostics, villanelles…the works. We’re also going to play with visual poetry, erasure poetry, redacted poetry, etc. The point is to find a place that feels like home, but also feels a little dangerous. And never stay there! After all, we’re all boxcar children at heart.
There are always going to be trends, but, really, what fits the poet fits the time. Also, you can totally blend.
How did you come to write about Baby Jessica?
I’ve always been a bit fascinated by the survival stories coming out of 1987 (my birth year). So, when I heard about this toddler stuck in a well for 56 hours, singing to herself so she wouldn’t be scared out of her mind, it stuck with me. Another one is Cecelia Crocker, who, at four, was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Metro Detroit. I was two months old, living in the city where the plane touched down. These details mean something to me. Maybe I’ll write about that next.
What is most challenging about poetry for you?
I have a buddy who can churn out a handful of poems in a single day, and they’re amazing. I’m not that kind of writer. I have to sit with an idea, have a conversation, share a slice of coffee cake, get it to trust me. Then, if I’ve done everything right, I get to take home a poem.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
There are a couple of pieces I’m particularly proud of, but neither are fully published yet. “Governing the Bodies of Gods,” written during that wonderful Venn Diagram of a day when Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing met the sentencing of Bill Cosby, is forthcoming in Cauldron Anthology. And “A Standing Dinner Invitation to My Anger,” an ode to the rage festering inside of me, is forthcoming in The Hellebore.