Tag: National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Jacqueline Jules

Each day in April, in honor of National Poetry Month and our third anniversary issue (find out how to get a copy HERE), we are running an interview with a poet who has been published in Gyroscope Review. With this interview, we wrap up our series and thank our participating poets. And we thank you, too, for reading and sharing these interviews. We hope you found them inspiring; perhaps they encouraged you to pick up a new poetry publication for yourself.

And, now, for the final interview in our series for 2018.

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Jacqueline Jules

Poet Jacqueline Jules

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? I will attend local poetry readings and be involved with a local initiative called Splendid Wake which celebrates the history of DC area poets.

Pen, pencil or computer first? Usually, computer.  I often use images which require a bit of research before I begin. I like to focus my poems on a concrete image so I will Google the image or idea first.

Who/what are your influences? Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters.  I remember reading this book in high school and being very intrigued by the way this series of free verse poems created an atmosphere akin to a novel. Since then, I have always enjoyed collections of linked poems, which carry a particular narrative.

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? While being outside in nature feeds my soul, I don’t write a lot of nature poetry. It is hard to describe the natural world without cliché or imagery used more successfully by big name poets.

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? There are no bad writing ideas. Some ideas are simply waiting to mature into the best arrangement of words.

What authors do you love right now? I recently read What Blooms in Winter by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and totally fell in love with it.

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? We have become an impatient society. We like soundbites. We like to read on our phones. Poetry can offer a literary moment readers can experience while standing in a grocery store line. Poems should be brief and accessible to the average reader. We shouldn’t need a key to unlock the meaning of a poem.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? I take walks around the neighborhood or at a nearby park. When my legs move, my mind does, too. I love to write poetry when I walk. I always carry a small notebook.

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink?
 I like coffee in the afternoons. It perks me up and gives me a few more hours of energy to work. Fortunately, it does not keep me up when I am ready to go to sleep later in the evening.

Jacqueline Jules lives in Arlington, Virginia. Her most recent publication is Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String (Evening Street Press),  winner of the Helen Kay Chapbook Prize. Visit her website at www.jacquelinejules.com or follow her on Twitter  @jacquelinejules.

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National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Kate Bernadette Benedict

Each day in April, in honor of National Poetry Month and our third anniversary issue (find out how to get a copy HERE), we are running an interview with a poet who has been published in Gyroscope Review. Read on.

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Kate Bernadette Benedict

Poet Kate Bernadette Benedict

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? Curled up with my cat, writing.  And helping to host a glorious reading on April 8th at Carmine Street Metrics featuring the superlative poets Moira Egan, Erica Dawson, and David Yezzi, and co-hosted by Wendy Sloan and Anton Yakovlev.

Pen, pencil or computer first? Computer. I’ve been “penning” my poems on a computer since the days of Wang word processing, when the screen was black and the font was bright green.

Who/what are your influences? The poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins seduced me into our “craft and sullen art”—and Dylan Thomas, too (whose quote that is), and Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton and Richard Wilbur.

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? Er, s-e-x, maybe because I’m still a good Catholic girl? Still, one must force oneself if one is to be honest.  One must be that . . .

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? A poem about boiling water in a pot.  Really, it was so boring!

What authors do you love right now? I keep rereading the works of James Hillman, the late, great maverick psychoanalyst whose work gave me courage to write a full manuscript of archetypal dream poems.

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? No matter what the year, no matter what the political situation, poets use ringing language to bring us deeper into experience.  Poems pour forth from the human soul—and if we can mine the human soul, then we can get through the bad times and even move forward as a species

Where do you go when you need to recharge? I take walks in the leafy parks of my neighborhood (Riverdale) and for a major “recharge,” I travel to the south coast of Maine to walk by the sea.

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? Manhattan cocktail, straight up!

Kate Bernadette Benedict lives in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York. Her most recent publication is a series of poems in Peacock Journal. Visit her website at http://www.katebenedict.com/ or follow her on Twitter @Poeta_Non_Grata.

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National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Joe Cottonwood

Each day in April, in honor of National Poetry Month and our third anniversary issue (find out how to get a copy HERE), we are running an interview with a poet who has been published in Gyroscope Review. Read on.

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Joe Cottonwood

Poet Joe Cottonwood

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? I’m building a Poetry Box to place along the road in front of my house. Rustic-style but similar to those boxes where realtors put handouts when a house is for sale. These handouts will be poems. I live on a popular hiking/jogging/biking/horseback trail, so passersby will be moving slowly enough to stop and look.

Pen, pencil or computer first? Computer, mostly. If pencil, it ends up on the computer sooner or later.

Who/what are your influences? My day job for 40 years has been construction work, so I’m influenced by the tradesmen who surround me all day, what they talk about, what they listen to. Lots of story-telling. Lots of humor. 

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? Meta-anything. What the duck is meta?

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? I tried to write a “Young Mother’s Story” for Redbook magazine because they were paying $500. Somehow I couldn’t pull it off.

What authors do you love right now? Sherman Alexie. Langston Hughes. Donna Hilbert.

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? To keep us grounded in our common humanity. To remind us that we all have heartbeats, no matter the outside package.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? The beach. I live 10 miles from the Pacific. Winter days especially, walk a hundred yards from the parking lot and you’re all alone with pelicans and driftwood, seals bobbing their heads up from the surf. 

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? Beer.

Joe Cottonwood lives in La Honda, California. His most recent publication is 99 Jobs: Blood Sweat & Houses. Visit Joe’s website at joecottonwood.com.

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National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Kristin LaFollette

Each day in April, in honor of National Poetry Month and our third anniversary issue (find out how to get a copy HERE), we are running an interview with a poet who has been published in Gyroscope Review. Read on.

National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Kristin LaFollette

Poet Kristin LaFollette

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? I will keep writing and promoting the work of other poets (which I try to do as much as possible on Twitter). Our public library here in Toledo is great at keeping poetry on their shelves and facilitating poetry events, so I’m thankful for that in my community. Further, I work at Bowling Green State University and am a PhD student there, and we have a fabulous MFA program. I’d love to make more time to attend events and read the work of some of our MFA students. And, I have a chapbook coming out within the next few months from GFT Press, so I’ll be promoting that and doing some readings!

Pen, pencil or computer first? I always prefer to write in pen first. I have a designated journal where I take notes and write down interesting words and phrases, and when I’m ready to write a poem, I always write it in there first. Later, I’ll type it up on the computer and then go through a series of revisions.

Who/what are your influences? In high school, I read constantly. I loved reading JD Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut, and I went through a phase where I only read Stephen King; his book On Writing made me want to be a writer. In college (when I became an English major after three years as a pre-med major), I started reading poetry and became enthralled with poets like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. All of these authors, including several professors/writers from college like David Dodd Lee and Kelcey Parker Ervick, made me want to be a writer and influenced the writing I do today. 

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? I once wrote in a reflection in grad school that it’s difficult for me to write about happy things. Even though I have so many happy moments I could write about, I always return to difficult times/memories. I think I write most about the hard stuff because it’s therapeutic for me. 

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? I’ve had plenty of them, but I feel like if I let them sit for a while, they always evolve into something I can work with. 

What authors do you love right now? In the past couple of months, I’ve read and loved Maggie Smith’s Good Bones, Gretchen Marquette’s May Day, Tess Taylor’s Work & Days, Steve Henn’s Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year, and Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? So many poets are addressing social justice issues in their work, and I think this will continue. There are so many brilliant women poets and poets of color writing right now, and we need to keep promoting their work and showing how much those voices desperately need to be heard in our contemporary society. 

Where do you go when you need to recharge? I work really well from home, and I love sitting in my living room with my dog, my journal, and/or my laptop and just writing and working. Having time to just be at home and write helps me to feel recharged. 

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? I don’t drink alcohol, but my all-time favorite drink for any time of the day is iced tea (black, no sugar). 

Kristin LaFollette lives in Toledo, Ohio. Her recent work includes her chapbook, Body Parts, forthcoming this year from GFT Press. Updates in its release will appear on her Twitter (@k_lafollette03) and Instagram (@k_lafollette03) feeds. Visit Kristin’s website, kristinlafollette.com.

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