National Poetry Month Interview Series: Interview with Poet Mary Kay Rummel

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 Mary Kay Rummel

Poet Mary Kay Rummel

How will you celebrate National Poetry Month? I will read, I will listen to others read, and I will buy a book by someone whose poetry is new to me and of a style I don’t usually read. I will also post children’s poems in the businesses of my community.

 Pen, pencil or computer first? I am in transition between pen first and computer first. It used to be all pen first and now I find myself sometimes composing a first draft on the computer.

Who/what are your influences? Gerard Manley Hopkins, Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, Pablo Neruda, Adam Zagajewski, Eamon Grennan, Linda Gregg, Jane Hirschfield. What I love about poetry is the music of the language. I also read poetry in translation from other cultures, other music. Many European poets.

What topic is the hardest for you to write about and why? Members of my family of origin. I still don’t want to hurt them, even the ones who are not alive.

What was the worst writing idea you ever had? To write a poem sequence based upon the Catholic stations of the cross and make little shrines. To attend a workshop where everyone was a lot younger than I am. Including others’ stories in my poems without telling or asking them.

 What authors do you love right now? Alice McDermott—a fiction writer. I am studying her mastery of detail and the musical repetition in her amazing sentences. Lois Jones — her new poetry book Night Ladder is gorgeous in its iteration of the ways body and soul are one.

What is the most important role of poets in 2018? To write and get your writing out in public; to be honest to the moment; to speak your truth; to not be afraid; to say all the layers of what you see.

 Where do you go when you need to recharge? To the sea—a bench, a rock, a walk—the sound of the waves.

What is your favorite end-of-the-day drink? Wine—white California or red French.

Mary Kay Rummel lives in Ventura, California, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her most recent book is Cypher Garden published by Blue Light Press in 2017. Visit her website,