Interview With Author Jack Ridl

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Jack Ridl. I have some dozen books out there ranging from books about literature to such poetry collections as Broken Symmetry, Practicing to Walk Like a Heron, and Saint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press) and Losing Season (CasvanKerry Press)

What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

The poetry collections are primarily reflective except for Losing Season which deals with a high school basketball team in a small town and a long winter. The other three have explorations of well, being, mystery, the comic, loss, all the usual.

What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I don’t want to be glib here, but my response is that inspiration for me does not come in lightening bolts. It can be a loved one lost or a shoe. I think of paying attention as being inspiration. I am responsible for it.

How do you deal with creative block?

Quit trying so hard. Keep my ambition on mute. Keep my standards ones of caring.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Not putting in poems because you are concerned someone will think them sappy or not adequate or not as good as . . .

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Title can be welcoming or give us an idea of the tone and sensibility of the book. My artist daughter does my covers. Would that all had artist children. Stick to your guns for what you want for the cover.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

They hurt like hell. It takes me meditative days to recover. If one is not shaken by such, is one rightly sensitive to create art?

Deal with it. Meditate. Wait a bit. Get back at it. Know they didn’t get it. Know that those are “their poems”

How has your creation process improved over time?

Hmmmmm. I trust it more now. I don’t know if it’s improved. I have learned all along the way, but I don’t know that such has led to improvement.

Imagination, creativity are there or have had them beaten out of one.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

Best and most surprising: How many people found that they mattered in their lives. Worst: Being dismissed.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

Neither. I tend to tend only to the poem and what it is trying to reveal. My job is to do what I can to bring that into being.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

Do you have any creativity tricks?

I trust that we are by nature creative beings. So, well, I trust that creativity is there and will display itself in particular ways because of who I am.

What are your plans for future books?

One poem at a time leads to the next book. If I have days enough left for such to happen.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

My father was a division 1 basketball coach so I grew up in that world, an uncommon one for a future poet to be raised within.

Because of an uncle who was a circus man, I also grew up with a variety of circuses from Ringling Bros to the smallest single ring shows.

I have only Bachelor’s Degree, yet I taught poetry in a four year liberal arts college for 37 years.


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