This Week's Interview: Lucille Gang Shulklapper

What are your goals when you write poetry?

A poem comes to me in fleeting, disparate images. The images are disconcerting, maddening, because I have no idea of their relationship. It's only when I sit down to write that the images come together through my fingers as though they have lived in my subconscious all the time, the way dreams exist. When the first draft is finished, I read it and discover what I meant. A poem may sit for a long time until I find the words and form to express my feelings. My first goal is to give voice to the inner, nagging one.

Other goals follow:
  • To experiment with form and style in shaping my vision.
  • To rethink and “ re-vision”
  • To not be afraid to reveal in my poetry what I have hidden from myself and others
  • To make connections between my inner world and the world around me
  • To develop greater insights
  • To "sing" as long as I can (to persevere)
  • To help others find the poetry within themselves
What's your attitude about the poetry business, the print, the online, magazines, book publishers, etc?

In one word: gratitude. I am grateful for the opportunities all of these markets provide. Each demands a response to specific guidelines and each reaches a particular audience. Most of the people in the “poetry business” are in it to promote their own love and particular “brand” of poetry.

I especially like the internet, followed by a print edition. It’s a simpler, less costly, and a faster way to reach an audience. Some in the poetry business accept previously published poems which extends the life of a poet’s work. The use of a submission manager also keeps the poet’s mind at rest as one can easily track his or her work. However, I’ll never forget rave rejections as well as rave acceptances from one and all.

I learned to read and research a publication before submitting my work. Indeed, I am grateful to the poetry business for helping me in my efforts to make poetic leaps and to be inspired by others.

When you read poetry by others, what do you get from it?

I get an immediate emotional response from a poem that touches me. Poem can range from humor to grief. I like to read the poem more than once to see how that effect was achieved. Was it a flight of fancy where the lines were placed; was it the tension created between a relationship, the words chosen, the spaces and the silence? Above my desk, I have taped Langston Hughes poem, Dreams. It serves as inspiration and sustenance.

What's an online mag that you love and look forward to reading?

There are too many to name, but, I would like you to know what Red Booth Review means to me. My poem, The Substance of Sunlight , accepted by RBR in 2001 (print edition and online), went on to become the title poem of a chapbook, published by Ginninderra Press in 2004, and is now found in The National Archives of Australia.

How many poets can respond to the encouraging and accepting words and warmth of W.T. Pfefferle, an editor, I have not met personally, with these words: There’s something wonderful about growing older. I can shout with joy and whoop around a room…. which is what I did when I received your letter telling me “The Substance of Sunlight” will appear in your “first ever” print issue.

Fifteen years later , I continue to look forward to reading RBR.

What's the one bit of knowledge you have now that you wish you had when you first started writing and publishing?

I started writing when I was six, and never sent poetry out until I was sixty, two decades ago. I learned it’s never too late to pursue one’s dreams.

Editor's Choice:
I Never Tasted Love
Bill of Fare
Substance of Sunlight
Dear Orville and Wilbur