Happy National Poetry Month! Whew, It’s day 29 but I just gathered all my poets and their interviews in nick of time. I had days 1-28 and 30 of interviews (will talk more on why day 29 was skipped over tomorrow). I wondered what or who should I reach out to to feature. Then yesterday morning, I found my answer waiting for me in all its blue text splendor. So for today’s interview, let’s welcome award winning poet J.A. Carter-Winward!:
I know I read poetry before the age of 11 or 12 because my parents had poetry books in the house. But the poetry I remember reading first is Shakespeare‘s sonnets (all of them). We had this really old, cool book that contained the complete works of Shakespeare and in 6th grade I read it cover to cover. I didn’t understand it all, but it was the music of the language that entranced me, the rhythm. I still have that book, which includes hand-tipped illustrations. It was published in 1921.
I think I’m drawn to the post-modern, “Confessionalist” poetry movement the most because it opened so many doors and broke through so many barriers. I think I would ask Robert Lowell what the impetus was for his decision to take the extremely personal aspects of his life make them public. I would be very interested in hearing what he’d have to say.
Which poetry school, community and or movement you wished to read more of? (Romantic, Beat, Confessional, etc.)
I read a lot of poetry already, but I resonate with the post-modern Confessional poetry the most, and want to continue to discover new poets in that sub-genre.
What do you love most about poetry?
Poetry allows us to name the unnamable. It allows us to capture what a simple noun or verb can’t capture. It takes you deep into the heart of something, paints a picture of it with words, and then leaves you feeling as though you’re connected to something bigger.
What advice would you give to others so that they’d read and or write more poetry?
I don’t believe I can say anything to people who don’t read poetry that will make them want to read poetry. Perhaps they simply don’t like it; perhaps they haven’t found a poet with whom they resonate. I think my advice would be to writers, if I am going to tackle the issue of the former.
I think the key to poetry, at least for me, is accessibility. I don’t want to slight academia, but I’m afraid that academia has had somewhat of a negative impact on the public’s view of poetry. In school we’re shown what “true” poetry is, and oftentimes it’s this pretentious, over-your-head, inaccessible poetry that leaves the reader confused at best, and cold at worst.
I write many different types of poetry. The poetry that I choose to have published is extremely accessible. People who have not been interested in poetry in the past typically have a positive experience reading mine. I think it’s because I give them something to which they can relate. My style is definitely post-modern, and I use things that are personal and bring them to the fore to create something universal. I am amazed at how many people can relate to something that happened to me when I was twelve, for example, and say, “yeah, I get that.” Then I accomplish what I seek out to accomplish with my writing, which is to close the gap; create a connection so that my readers don’t feel so alone in the world. I think that’s the ultimate gratification for me.
Bonus JulieAnn shares with us today a poem from her book No Apologies:
ghost of christmas past
i don’t remember how old i was
but i still wore those ked’s shoes
with the round toes.
i was walking home in the dark
with my mom
after a church christmas party.
she worked with all the kids in
and they all loved her
but they all seemed to hover around her
needy little ghosts.
it was the holidays
so i talked and talked about what i wanted
santa to bring me
and my mom was so tired
(i get that now)
and so she said
oh, you know there isn’t a santa.
i remember i sort of stopped breathing
and for her sake i pretended that i did know
but my mind raced to every gift
from every christmas before
and the magical disappearance
of carrot bread and egg nog on christmas eve
and i didn’t let her see me cry.
i stopped talking
(which is all she probably wanted)
and i pretended everything was fine
but i remember feeling like
someone had died.
© j.a. carter-winward, no apologies
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jacarterwinward?ref=bookmarks
PS. Tomorrow is Poem in Your Pocket Day. It’s a day when you carry a poem in your pocket (duh) and share it with others throughout the day. If you follow the link to Poets.org, you’ll find a downloadable pdf of poems to print and carry. And also share your selected poem on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem…Right now I’m leaning towards Claude McKay.