Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’ve published five books and three chapbooks. I have two more accepted, Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019) and Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020). They’re very different books. Caught is ekphrastic poems, inspired by ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and myths, set alongside contemporary mythic figures (A statue of a Greek athlete followed by a poem about Gabby Douglas, etc.) Zombies is entirely ghazals. They all follow the traditional form (rhyme, repetition, 10-syllable lines, the poet’s name in the last couplet.)
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Originally I was inspired by punk — the energy of it, the rhythms, the honesty. I’m inspired by visual art, myth, and spirituality. I did a book of poems based on the tarot (I also painted my own deck.) More recently I’ve become inspired by form. Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2018) is full of formal poems, both ghazals and a word-search form invented by Terrance Hayes.
How do you deal with creative block?
Read more poetry, walk the dog. Repetitive motions like the elliptical work, too.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I’m a painter as well, so I’ve done most of my own covers. (I’ve done paintings and let the press design using it.)
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
If it’s negative feedback from someone I trust, I use the information to improve. Haters I ignore. One snarky critic accused me of plagiarizing a poet I’d never heard of.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I do a 15-min. headstand every morning. I read that Iyengar was doing a half hour in his 90’s, so I figured I need to start working up to it.
At parties I usually hang out with the pet(s).
Even though I’m a technophobe, I have a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuYaEZi4Wa_sPI6PRx1ID8w
I hope you’ll check it out and subscribe so my teen daughter will stop making fun of me for having so few subscribers. I had to explain that poetry is, sadly, less popular than make-up tutorials.
I want to give a shout-out to my wonderful presses. My first book won the Many Mountains Moving Award, and I appreciate them choosing it after almost two decades of being a finalist in contests. Presa Press introduced me to Eric Greinke, who’s become a friend and collaborator. (We did a book together.) I’m thrilled to be part of NYQ Books, which has taken William Packard’s vision into the realm of books, and of Jacar, which donates money to social justice causes and is trying to make the world a better, fairer place.