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
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.