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poetry interviews

Thomas Stemmer, Poet published in 32 Poems magazine

Thomas Stemmer, Poet published in 32 Poems magazine

1. How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room eager to hang on your every word? Are you just a poet, what else should people know about you?

I cannot imagine a crowd eagerly listening to poetry. However, in 2008, when I was invited to a conference in Pakistan, I took part in a Mushaira (a traditional poetry reading), and indeed, everybody was very eager to listen. Even a peasant there knows verses of – let’s say – Rumi or local poets for example. This is incredible. But, I am just a poet, yes, a romantic in a way.

2. Do you see spoken word, performance, or written poetry as more powerful or powerful in different ways and why? Also, do you believe that writing can be an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant or collaborative? Why or why not?

Frankly, I do not know.

3. Do you have any obsessions that you would like to share?

Yes: My mechanic typewriter. I JUST LOVE IT!

4. Most writers will read inspirational/how-to manuals, take workshops, or belong to writing groups. Did you subscribe to any of these aids and if so which did you find most helpful? Please feel free to name any “writing” books you enjoyed most (i.e. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott).

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Editor’s Note: You might recall I wrote a post entitled “Alexandra Teague: A Poet You Should Know” and shared some of her poems. I’m especially delighted she allowed us to interview her for the blog.

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1. How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room of listeners hanging on your every word? What would you tell them and what wouldn’t you tell them and why?

My standard self-trivia is that I’ve visited all 50 states; I’ve also lived in 8 of them. I’ve always had a strong sense of impermanence and a wariness about getting too comfortable in one version of reality. For years, I’ve had a hard time explaining where I’m from. Oakland is pretty homey right now, although I’ve been claiming since I moved to the Bay Area 8 years ago that I’m on my way somewhere else. I definitely love traveling: Oaxaca, Guatemala, the Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Japan. . . . A couple of summers ago, my boyfriend and I hiked all 220 miles of the John Muir Trail through the High Sierras. We love hiking, but we didn’t really know what we were getting into and spent a lot of our time trying to figure out how to quit. In the end, 19 days of hiking and camping was one of the most powerful, transformative things I’ve ever done. I might admit that some of my friends roll their eyes now when I say that I’m going on a trip. I’m always complaining about not having enough writing time, but the minute I get a break from teaching, I climb on a plane or pack my hiking gear. I know I might be more productive if I stayed put occasionally, but there’s too much of the world left to see.

2. Do you see spoken word, performance, or written poetry as more powerful or powerful in different ways and why? Also, do you believe that writing can be an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant or collaborative? Why or why not? [click to continue…]

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H. L. Hix’s poetry collections include God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse, Chromatic, which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award in Poetry, and Shadows of Houses, all from Etruscan Press. Translations include On the Way Home: An Anthology of Contemporary Estonian Poetry, translated with Jri Talvet. Other books include As Easy As Lying: […]

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Hadara Bar-Nadav’s book of poetry A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007) won the Margie Book Prize. Recent publications appear or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Verse, and other journals. She is an Assistant Professor of English […]

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Jehanne Dubrow’s work has appeared in Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, Gulf Coast, and Prairie Schooner. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Hardship Post (see photo), winner of the Three Candles Press First Book Prize (2009), and a chapbook, The Promised Bride (Finishing Line 2007). A second collection, From the Fever-World, won the Washington […]

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