We got to speak with Juleigh Howard-Hobson about her piece “The Prayer of Marilyn Ross” in Issue Seven.
What do you find most interesting or fascinating about Marilyn Ross or William Ross?
To me, by far the most interesting thing to know about William Ross, who wrote under a few names including Marilyn Ross, is that his dead second wife’s name was Marilyn Ross. Think about it.
What kind of reading or research went into this piece? Were you already aware and a fan of Marilyn Ross’s work?
I was already a reader of the Dark Shadows novels—I picked them up in the pre-Johnny Depp Dark Shadows years for a song, nobody thought they were cool. I love them, they are perfect snapshots of overwrought ‘60’s Gothicness. From the Dark Shadows novels, I looked for more of Marilyn Ross’s works…that led me down the rabbit hole of strange literature which is William Ross. He wrote about 300 novels all told. I’ve yet to find them all.
What’s a takeaway from this piece that you hope readers pick up on?
Atmosphere and anticipation are everything in the end.
How does poetry make you feel? To read and write and share it?
I feel that I am often at my most authentic through my verse. I often reveal more of myself than I plan to, I plumb depths I don’t know I possess, and words come to me that I have no idea are arriving until they are there. Where they come from is some unseen, unfelt reservoir of myself hidden deep inside of me, I capture these poems somehow (that part is still not clear to me, after all these years) and I write them down. Sharing what I’ve caught, poetically, is humbling, although I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit to taking a huge pride in my craft. There’s a disconnect there, I know, but that’s the truth: I don’t know how I do it, but I am proud that I do.
I think poetry is the most revelatory art of them all. There is little lee-way in words, when push comes to shove. They can be interpreted, but they still mean what they mean at the end of the day. There’s a real nakedness to that. Reading poetry is like slipping into another soul. It is a strange and wonderous feeling to read what another human reveals.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
This poem fits the mood of “The Prayer of Mariyn Ross” well: