Is there one subject you feel you return to in your writing?
I tackle trauma and chronic illness (both mental and physical) on at least a weekly basis, and I’ve always found myself returning “home” to a sort of Gothic—I’ve recently been writing a bit of prose for the first time in forever and I like to think Poe would be proud of the result! Most recently, my works in progress have led me to focus especially on my cat and his impact on my health, powerful historical women (most heavily, recently, on Anne Boleyn for my microchap, Boleyn, with more to come!), and, much to my own surprise, love poems for an upcoming full-length!
What brought you to write “A Winter Anagram”?
My alma mater had the worst time keeping up with winter weather, and the sidewalks would always be a slippery mess coming to and from classes. I’d never been much of a fan of snow (and especially not ice!) and I hated having to leave my apartment and try to make it to classes or meetings while trying not to fall—I’m hardly coordinated on a good day. I made or heard some comment about the hell that is snow and I thought it was an interesting comparison to the typical fire and brimstone imagery. I also have a slight fear of Santa Claus, so I’ve always gotten a kick out of the anagram of Santa and Satan—I’m hardly a “good Christian,” but it made my otherwise irrational fear seem a bit more justified. All of these thoughts were sort of whirling around in my mind and, joined with the contrast between beautiful freshly fallen snow and the dirty slush that it quickly becomes, this little poem was born.
How do you feel about traditional poems and free verse? Which do you feel fits the present time? Can the coincide within one poem?
While I use free verse almost exclusively in my own writing, I have a fondness for more traditional forms of poetry. My love for the genre started with reading Shakespeare and Poe and I owe a lot to that background. And, while I don’t often use pure forms, I often draw inspiration from them and I think that’s a critical point—you have to understand the “rules” first in order to break them! From that mindset, I definitely think the two can coincide, sometimes without you even fully realising it.
What do you feel is the most important thing about poetry and its dialogue with the community at large?
I could go on for ages on this subject, but I’ll keep it to two main points: first, the inherent humanity of poetry is crucial. I come back to Wordsworth time and again with the quote, ”Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” You, the reader, may have never felt a certain feeling, but in reading a poem, you do. Or, conversely, you may have felt a feeling in solitude time and again, only to see it reflected on the page for the first time. That in itself is a powerful, powerful feeling.
Secondly, I think the sheer ability of poetry to exist and persevere through even the most hellish political, social, etc. landscapes is incredibly important. Poems can face larger strife head-on or provide an escape—or do both so subtly that each becomes even stronger. Poetry is honestly a sort of magic.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
I’ve been outrageously lucky to have quite a few pieces published, but two of my most recent favourites are “I believe” with Marías at Sampaguitas and “Noli me tangere” in the Wellington Street Review.
You can read Juliette Sebock’s new piece “A Winter Anagram” in Issue Nine of The Ginger Collect!