September 3, 2008
Check out Michael’s magazine here
1) What is the name of your Poetry blog? Why did you choose this particular name?
Strong Verse. The name of the blog comes from the poetry magazine I edit — strongverse.org. Orson Scott Card (the publisher) and I picked Strong Verse as a name because we wanted to focus on poetry that is proud to be poetry — that is clear and resonant and, of course, strong.
2) When did you first start writing, what made you feel the need to express yourself in this way?
I first started writing poetry when I was fifteen. I stole an eleventh-grade literature book that someone left in my high school hallway. I remember reading Prufrock, In a Station of the Metro, Erat Hora, The River Merchant’s Wife, and Blackberrying and being changed. Before I found that book I was just a smart kid who wanted to teach or be a biologist. After I read those poems, I was a poet.
3) What types of poems do you find yourself writing most? Do you have a recurring type?
I began to be drawn to form in the late 1990s. Since working with some urban slam poets around 2002 I’ve written exclusively in meter. I’m not bound to rhyme, although it has its uses, but there is really no excuse for not having metrics in a poem — if you want your poetry to sound good out loud (and all poetry should), rhythm is the way to go.
4) What kind of work are you most drawn to reading yourself? Do you find yourself reading work similar to your own, or completely different?
Although I like “difficult poetry” like Pound’s Cantos, the poetry I most enjoy is more oceanic — open to all but full and deep. Dante, of course, is the exemplar but there are modern poets I love too — Notley’s Alette is a great run and I’m currently fascinated by the work of Gabriel Spera.
5) Have you ever been published? If so where, if not do you plan to submit your work at some point?
Chelsea, the Loch Raven Review, Roger, and Ezra.
6) Name the 3 poems you are most proud of writing, the ones that you personally cannot forget?
1779: Blood (a revolutionary war epic), Palm Sunday, and The Rest (both of which are at http://www.strongverse.org)
7) Do you find that readers like different poems then your own favorites? Name your top 3 most read poems.
I’ve found “The Rest” cribbed on other folks’ websites, so I suppose that’s a popular one.
8 Do you also write short stories or pieces of literature? Which do you find yourself drawn to the most often?
I write a lot of narrative poetry but have exactly no talent at prose-writing.
9) Some poets are also active in other creative areas, what are some of you favorite non-poetry or literature activities?
I play the gee-tar and I sing (and have sung in Carnegie Hall — albeit as part of a choir). I would like to be a good 2-d artist but I am not.
10 Poets tend to have favorite poets they visit often, can you suggest someone readers might enjoy checking out?
Besides Dante, Eliot, and Plath? Like I said above, Gabriel Spera is just fantastic. I would also recommend David Mason, Jennifer Reeser, and Mary Oliver.
11) Many poets have different methods for their writing, some write on paper and then transmit to the blog, others type their work out in word and then transfer it. What is your
preferred writing method?
I write everything out longhand and then type it up. If it needs further editing, I print it out triple-spaced and edit longhand.
12) Poets are from all over the world, where do you hail from?
I am from North and Central Florida.
13) They say that to see the world with complete honesty one should look to comedians, artists and poets, what do you think emerges naturally from your work?
14) Do you have one poem that you almost did not post due to it being so very personal? Did you post it after all? If so, please tell us about it.
“The Rest” is one of the only three poems that I’ve ever written in which I could be the speaker. But the poem that I almost didn’t post was Palm Sunday. Before the birth of my first child, I was terrified of the dangers inherent in childbirth. I sent Orson Scott Card the poem about a month before my daughter was born — he made me publish it because there was no way I could ever look at it again if something went wrong. Luckily everyone is still here and the poem is up on Strong Verse.
15) All poets have several words that come up over and over again, words or sentences that they just can’t help but use in their work. What are 3 of your absolute favorite words?
a, an, and the.
16) When I post my poems I have a habit of doing 3 at a time. Do you have a special ritual that you go through when preparing to write?
Not at all. It’s so rare that I have time to write that I have no time for rituals.
17) Name your 3 favorite historic poets. What about their work are you most drawn to? What about their work are you most inspired by?
Dante, Eliot, and Plath. Honesty of image, clarity of verse, strength of words.
18 If you were given the opportunity to get published and do book signings anywhere you wanted, what cities or countries would definitely be on your book tour?
The Italian Alps.
19) What style of poetry do you prefer? ( Freestyle, Rhyming, Haiku)
Longform metrical poetry. Traditional forms are great but not necessary.
20) Poets are often said to be eccentric, and I support that..please end this interview by creating 2 sentences poetic, strange or quietly profound..your choice.
G. M. Palmer
Editor, Strong Verse
pax et lux