30 days of Poetry Love with Courtney Birst

Credit image: Poets.org

Happy National Poetry Month day 11! Today’s interviewee is Courtney Birst:

How old were you when you read your first poem? What was the name of the poem and poet?
I was probably 3 or 4 when I was first exposed to poetry. We had a wonderful set of books called Childcraft: The How and Why Library. The first volume in that set was Poems and Rhymes and it was one I read from frequently. As an adult I found and bought a copy of this book, I still love flipping through it and remembering the poems of my childhood.

If you had to interview a poet from a specific poetry movement, what would you ask them? (Name the poet and the movement).
I’m fortunate to have worked with some amazing poets, I’ve taken workshops, or done on-on-one sessions with Michal Glaser (former MD poet laureate), Lucille Clifton (twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize),Elizabeth Arnold, Jessica Garratt, Anne Caston, and Megan Falley. Because I’ve worked with so many great poets I don’t feel as if I need to reach out to a poet from a specific poetry movement.

Which poetry school, community and or movement you wished to read more of? (Romantic, Beat, Confessional, etc.)
My favorite poetry is modern free-verse poetry and luckily there’s plenty of that around so I don’t feel as if I’m lacking anything.

What do you love most about poetry?
I love that poetry allows an outlet for so many emotions and events. Poetry allows me to express things that sometimes I might not otherwise say. It’s really a form of expression to me and I love when I read a poem written by someone else and I find myself reliving the emotions the poet is writing about – that’s powerful stuff.

What advice would you give to others so that they’d read and or write more poetry?
Poetry is everywhere, you don’t have to look hard to find it. Go to your local library, check out every book of poetry and read them all. Find poets in your community – libraries or MeetUp.com is a great way to find a group. Surround yourself with other poets and you’ll feel more creative and start writing. Keep poetry a part of your daily life – sign up for Poetry Foundation’s Poem of the Day (poetryfoundation.org) and a poem will be sent to your inbox daily.

Courtney Birst grew up on a farm in the Midwest, but always longed for more. Moving to the Washington DC area proved to be just the thing this one-time farm girl needed. Now she loves to travel the world and is constantly on the lookout for a good book of poetry, a great glass of wine, a trail to run, and a reason to relax with friends. She has been published in numerous literary journals, includingConnections, Welter, Plum Biscuit, and has published her first chapbook of poetry, Words Meant to be Spoken, available on Amazon. She has forthcoming publications in Pudding Magazineand NoVa Bards Anthology. Find her online atwww.courtneybirst.com, read her blog at www.wordperv.com, follow her on twitter: www.twitter.com/wordperv, or find her on Facebook:www.facebook.com/author.CourtneyBirst.


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