Gyroscope Review editors decided that a good way to honor contributors to our journal is with an occasional interview. Today, we bring you contributing poet Joshua Colwell. Read on.
GR: Thanks for agreeing to let us interview you for Gyroscope Review. We’re pleased that your work is included in our first issue. Can you please begin by telling us where you’re from, where you write, and why poetry?
JC: I’m from a small town in western Pennsylvania called Bessemer. I tend to write from my home computer. I used to write longhand when I was a teenager, but have found the convenience of technology too enticing.
I write poetry because I’ve always written poetry. It’s just kind of come naturally to me. When I was 13 I wrote my first poem about clouds on a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing poetry, along with fiction, ever since.
GR: Who, or what are your poetical influences?
JC: Robert Frost was my biggest influence when I first started. Since then I have gravitated to more contemporary poets such as Shaindel Beers and Robert Lee Brewer. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of William Carlos Williams and enjoying every second of it.
GR: How do you decide what ‘form’ a poem should take?
JC: I never really “decide” on what form a poem will take. It just happens organically as I write. If I have a lot to say on a subject, that poem might be longer than when I feel I don’t have as much to say.
GR: What is your writing process like?
JC: When it comes to poetry I simply sit down and write. I don’t outline. I write it all at once, and then revise later.
GR: Do you belong to any writer’s groups – face to face or online? If so, are they part of your process?
JC: I’ve taken group workshops in college and found them to be beneficial. It’s always good to have others read your work to see if there’s something you could be doing better. Normally, though, I don’t use writer’s groups.
GR: What do you look for in the poetry you like to read? Any favorite poets?
JC: Line length is big to me. I love poetry that’s short and concise. I’m a big fan of William Carlos Williams. I also love Shel Silverstein and Hilda Doolittle.
GR: What is the most important role for poets today?
JC: I’d say the most important role for poets is to be true to yourself and to tell your story.
GR: Which poets have you had the opportunity to hear read? Alternatively, what is the most recent book you’ve read?
JC: I’ve never had the opportunity to hear a poet read in person. The most recent book of poetry I’ve read is New and Selected Poems by Charles Simic.
GR: Any future plans for your work that you’d like to talk about?
JC: Right now I’m jumping between projects. I’m working on some short stories and will possibly delve into my first novel at the end of the summer.
GR: What other interests do you have beyond literature?
JC: I’m a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I’m a senior at Youngstown State University where I’m studying Professional and Technical Writing. If I’m not spending time writing I’m usually on Netflix or with my wonderful girlfriend.
GR: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Please let our readers know where they can find more information about you or your work.
Readers can also find some of my poems at Every Day Poets magazine.
GR: Thanks, again, Josh. It’s been a pleasure.
Joshua’s poem, Cold Oatmeal, appears on page 42 of the Spring 2015 issue of Gyroscope Review.