Why I write:
If I can touch a reader with a thought, image or rekindle a memory, that's the crux of it. I think of Ray Carver. When I read his work, I’d often be struck by the "how does he know that, that's how I felt or experienced a similar situation." I focus on the narrative, telling the story in free verse as honestly as I can.
I hold onto my appreciation of print—being able to hold the book, magazine in hand. I also love the process of submitting. I choose the poems, rework the submission to what I feel may be a good fit with the publication, type the envelope on my 1960 Smith Corona Galaxie Twelve, slip in the SASE, pick a suitable stamp and take it to the post office. That being said, the other piece is continuing to develop the relationships with editors/publishers who support my work. Many have moved to online. The shift to online was inevitable. I'm not a large fan of Submittable, but understand the need for it. The increase in submitters must be staggering. It's so easy to create the Word file and pump it out.
Every acceptance is important to me. The fact that my poems traverse that seemingly insurmountable wall and drop safely on the other side.
My last two books were published by tall lighthouse in London England. Les Robinson, the publisher at the time, worked tirelessly with me long distance to fine-tune the work. We created two collections that I feel capture the essence of my first twenty years in the po-biz.
On reading other poets:
For me writing is an evolving process shaped by the life we live and what we learn from others living their version. I mentioned Ray Carver. He found truth in the human experience—simply stated, universally understood. I recently read Nicanor Parra's Anti-poems. He creates a unique counter spin on the poetry world. Billy Collins hits the right notes on the saying it simply with a titter and a bang. Jack Gilbert captured the essence of love and loss. I like some of the new poets I call the war recorders. Kevin Powers, Brian Turner are two. I appreciate their first person reporting on the atrocities we only know from the filtered press. The current issue of Toad Suck Review has a short spread on Jo McDougall. I like her pithy takes on life.
There are a few that never fail to resonate with me. Red Booth Review is consistently a good read. Another is Misfit. Alan Catlin is the publisher.
A guiding principle:
Know the names of things.
Beer, Jazz & Weed
Millennium All Star Review