National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Ashley Memory

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 Ashley Memory

Ashley Memory
Poet Ashley Memory

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? By reading and writing poetry! Last year, I actually wrote a poem for each day in April, as part of the Tupelo Press Poetry Project. It was challenging but inspirational. This year I plan to read as much poetry as I write.  

Pen, pencil or computer first? It depends. If I’m on the road, I usually jot down my thoughts in pen on paper. But if I’m working at home, I usually start with my laptop. It’s so convenient.

Who/what are your influences? There are so many. Reading poets like Billy Collins, Charles Simic and the late Rachel Wetzsteon and Jane Kenyon never cease to inspire me to pick up my pen. 

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? My childhood. I’m not sure why. It wasn’t a difficult period but even at age 50, I don’t think I’ve achieved adequate perspective yet!

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? I don’t believe that any single writing idea is a bad one because if it comes from your own experience, then you ought to try and do something with it, but I’ve definitely changed my approach from time to time. For example, I once tried to write a poem about a 1962 Southern cookbook that I bought at a flea market. It was one of those put together by a church and I was captivated by the names of old dishes like “jiffy salmon casserole” and “Grandma Betty’s brown dumplings.” The poem never took off, but I ended up with a short story instead!

What authors do you love right now? Dorianne Laux, Lola Haskins, and Alicia Ostriker. 

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? To bring hope.

Where do you go when you need to recharge? Outdoors. I love to sit on my deck and observe the natural world. I might be having a bad day, but the song of the wood thrush or the antics of the Carolina anole on my apricot tree keeps me in touch with the bigger picture. 

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? Tea, iced, barely sweetened, with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Ashley Memory lives in Asheboro, North Carolina. Her most recent publications include work forthcoming in 2018 in the annual baseball review, The Hardball Times, and in Flash Memory, an anthology of flash fiction to be published by Anchala Studios. Visit her website,, or follow her on Twitter: @memoryashley.