with Shaindel Beers
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Shaindel: Before I could write, I would tell my parents stories and ask them to write them down. I count this as my first writing. As far as first influences, I read anything about horses as a kid and anything about animals, in general. When I got to be high school age, I really liked the Romantic Era and Victorian Era poets. This is probably because I found my mom’s college textbooks around that time and fell in love with them. When I got to college, I fell in love with Milton and wanted to be a Milton scholar. This didn’t happen, but I think I’ve always appreciated any writing about the outdoors and nature.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Shaindel: That’s an interesting question. I don’t know if I would say that I have a “biggest” influence right now. I think I’ve found myself? At least, I hope I have. I’ve published three books, I try to read widely. There are a lot of authors I like, but I don’t consider any one of them a “biggest” influence. Nature? Maybe? I mean, we all live in it.
Q3. Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?
Shaindel: I grew up in a small Indiana town that was completely changed by NAFTA. At least, that is my perception of it. I hope that my work is always working class and rural with an appreciation for the outdoors, nature, and social justice. I’ve lived in a few different places in the U.S. — Indiana, Alabama, Illinois, Florida, Oregon. I hope that I have a broadened worldview. I’ve traveled to the British Isles twice long ago (like over twenty years ago). I used to have a radio show called “Translated By” where I interviewed translators of various literary works. I feel like I learned a lot from that. Even if I haven’t been to a lot of places, I have tried to read a wide variety of work from all over the world.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Shaindel: I don’t know if that is for the author to decide. Readers take meaning from our work, and there’s no way to know who you have touched unless they tell you. I hope that my poems have helped people. I heard once from a woman that a short story of mine helped her understand her daughter who passed away from cancer. That amazed me because she had been so close to that event, yet my story, which I had made up, meant something to her. I hope I have more of those moments that I just don’t know about.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Shaindel: I think when I was ten and first wrote a poem after a traumatic event as a way to process it, I knew. I don’t think we choose. I think art and poetry is a way of moving through the world that is chosen for us.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Shaindel: I guess I would say reading, hiking, running, swimming, cooking, and volunteering at the animal shelter.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
I don’t have anything new coming out for a few months. Here is my author site: http://shaindelbeers.com , and here is the first poem from my most recent collection: http://creativewritingatleicester.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-imprecision-of-language-poem-by.html. This is my most recent flash fiction piece that has been published that is available online: https://orcalit.com/the-lake/. I would love to lift up other writers. I’ve recently read amazing work by DeMisty Bellinger, Gary Percesepe, Courtney LeBlanc, Christina Strigas, Megan Alpert, Lynne Schmidt, and Julia Bouwsma. I’m also the Poetry Editor of Contrary Magazine, http://contrarymagazine.com , and our latest issue is AMAZING. Please read the whole thing.
Here are the Twitter handles for this group: ” I’ve recently read amazing work by
” And Contrary is @Contrary on Twitter
Q8: What is a favorite line from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Shaindel: That’s a great question. I love so much work from the Pre-Raphaelite painters. I love that they were doing paintings inspired by poetry, for instance the interpretations of “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by Keats. My favorite version of this is Sir Frank Dicksee‘s painting.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Shaindel: I guess all of the writers who have come before me. I really am grateful that when I was in undergrad, I got to meet Joy Harjo and Eavan Boland and realize that poets are real, living people. There have been so many others, but I am eternally grateful to them.