Interview by Miriam Sagan
First published on the blog Miriam’s Well on 3 July 2013. The context was to explore creativity in general, not just poetry, although I do focus mostly on poetry. I forget what the mention of syrup was referring to.
1. Have you ever set specific creative goals for yourself? Such as?
Yes, definitely, and repeatedly. They include ideas such as trying to write one poem a day for particular months (such as National Haiku Writing Month, or NaHaiWriMo, as well as NaPoWriMo), or even an entire year, and to explore a particular idea (starting poems with a preposition, persona poems, or exploring particular themes, for example). I’ve also written a novel for NaNoWriMo, and had many other goals to do with photography, poetry, fiction, and more. I’ve made goals for collaborations with others, too, which is always stimulating.
2. Did you “succeed” or “fail”?
Even a failure is a success, if you prove to yourself that an idea doesn’t work, so to me even the worst creative goals always succeed. It’s all in the spirit of exploration and giving things a try. But to me creative ideas are even more of a success if they give me a new outlet of creativity and a body of new poems that I might publish. To me the right idea can not only break through writer’s block, but help me bust out with six-guns blazing — it can be quite invigorating. Even if the results are more interesting just to me than to others, that’s still a success.
3. How have these goals changed over time?
I don’t think they have. They go in cycles, though, such as writing a specific form (I once spent a few weeks writing dozens of triolets), or putting together a manuscript (the creativity of which is highly underrated, I’d say). Big pictures and small pictures all make for great creative goals—big and little goals. For me they arise organically and naturally.
4. How successful have you been at publishing or showing your work?
Very. Thousands of poems in hundreds of journals and anthologies. Dozens of books published. Translations, photography, and some fiction published, too, plus essays and reviews (a different kind of creativity).
5. In the past decade, have you been able to bring your work out into the world?
Yes, see previous question. It’s been interesting explore new technology, including editing print-on-demand publications, and creating a large PDF book. I read mostly in print, but reading online is becoming more common for me (with pros and cons).
6. Are you satisfied with your ability to engage with new technology?
I’d like to explore new technologies, such as making smartphone poetry apps (one of my books is already available as an interactive app, and I’ve contributed work to another app, but they were developed by someone else). I think I could do more with blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and other mediums. One has only so much time, however.
7. Add any other thoughts you might have on the topic, too!
Pass the syrup!