How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was a young child, but I probably didn’t consider writing as something I wanted to do for a lifetime until I was in college taking English and creative writing courses. Somehow, the option of being an “author” or a “poet” didn’t seem plausible to me until then.
What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I grew up outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, went to college in Iowa, and lived briefly in Chicago before moving to Springfield, Illinois. So I have been connected to the Midwest for my entire life.
How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
I think that the Midwest gives images to a poet that aren’t always available to people living elsewhere, but I also think the Midwest has given me an appreciation for silence and a need for a more quiet, contemplative poetry. Not because I haven’t lived in loud, noisy urban areas in the Midwest, but because even when surrounded by the bustle of a city, I really long for back roads, lake country, tall grasses, and a few cows in that pasture right around the corner.
Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
I would guess that Midwesterners tend to be a bit more reserved in their accomplishments, so the work that we do is just that – our work. We don’t feel the need to shout about it or make huge exclamations of how great we are as a group of writers. Such a show would probably be an embarrassment to many of us. We do our good work, and that is enough.
How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I am hesitant to use social media to promote myself, probably because I find the communication found on social media to be so stuck on the surface. Which is probably exactly what you need for promotion, but my friends group is just that. My friends. They know what is going on with me without social media, so why post things beyond the occasional bit of good news?
Impossible to say. Really. I read all the time, and my favorite is always changing. Though I just taught the poetry of Tracy K. Smith this last semester, and I am admiring her work more and more with each reading.
Ice cream. Just about any flavor but coffee.
If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
I’d have hot chocolate with Shakespeare any day, if only to figure out who he really, really was! That mystery solved, I would move on to how he approached writing his sonnets. So lovely still, after all this time.
Where can we find more information about you?