A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Nina Parmenter

with Nina Parmenter:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Nina: I wrote light poetry as a teenager, influenced of course by Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan. But other than that, until my forties I really had little interest in poetry, particularly anything, god forbid, “serious”!

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Nina: At the moment, I’m suckering up poetry like a hungry octopus and being influenced by everything I read. I’m all new and eager. Most influential things I’ve read in the last twelve months are probably “The Air Year” by Caroline Bird and “Crucifox” by Geraldine Clarkson both for their joyful eccentricity; “Paper Aeroplanes” by Simon Armitage because of what that man can do with wordplay and rhyme and half-rhyme, “And After All” by Rhina P Espaillat because of her effortlessness with form, and “Menagerie” by Cheryl Pearson because of her wonderful playful imagery. But there are so many more I’ve enjoyed.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Nina: I’ve noticed that when I set poems in a place, that place is almost always in Somerset (in South West England) where I grew up, or Wiltshire where I live now (next to Somerset!) I’m reasonably well travelled, but nowhere except home seems to make it into my poems. I imagine that tells you something about me.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Nina: I almost always think that the last good poem I wrote is my best. Also, that it will be my last good poem! In terms of “meaningful”, I will often put my more troubled or challenging thoughts slantways into a surreal poem rather than addressing them directly. From a selfish point of view, I find that better therapy than going into a lot of detail; for the reader, they’re there if you need or want to find them. But I think fun and surprise and intrigue are important too. They are the things that bring us to life.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Nina: I don’t remember a specific moment; I always knew I could write, I just didn’t think it was a thing people like me did. I hit my forties and there ere a couple of factors that pushed me towards writing – I wanted to give my inner narrative something to do except worrying, and I wanted to do something that was “me”. I cut my teeth by writing light poetry and posting it on a community site, Poetry Soup. People there were really encouraging which prompted me to explore some different forms, types and styles. Then I realised that to write decent poetry I should also, you know, READ  some poetry and that’s when I started to really diversify. (I do still love light poetry though.)

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Nina: I’d love to reel off an intriguing list of pastimes but the fact is, I’m a working mum, and writing is the main thing I squeeze round other stuff for pleasure! Then there’s a teeny bit of space left for reading, singing, walking and friends and family.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Nina: I’ve just moved my blog across to ninaparmenter.com and you can WordPress-follow it now or follow it via Facebook at Facebook.com/parmenterpoetry. The blog was previously at itallrhymes.com but this became problematic when I started  writing a lot of poems that didn’t… rhyme! I’ve also got a couple of appearances coming up in anthologies – in Hedgehog Poetry’s “Looking Out, Peering In” and Dreich’s “Summer Anywhere” anthology.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Nina: There’s a poem I wrote a few years ago called “Ease in the Ether” where I imagine myself rising above reality. It has this little phrase I love: “Far above the flick-flack of tongues / and the dull tug of duty / I cruise the dewy sky-trails / watching the pedestrians / lessen.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Nina: Oh my goodness, lots of people – the majority of them being people I’ve never met in real life! People on Twitter have been amazing – I put out a plea for a couple of people to look at some work a few weeks ago, and so many kind people responded and gave me such useful feedback. Next step is to join a real life workshop where I actually have to look people in the eye – because my poetry only really took off last year, there just hasn’t been the opportunity to do that yet. I need to re-socialise myself first though!

2 poems by Nina Parmenter : Down by the River & How to Count Your Fingers

5 Poems from Nina Parmenter ” The Twist”,”Bright Future”, “Strings” “Stargazing in a time of Plague” “Where Tears Are”

https://formalverse.com/2020/11/28/potcake-poets-choice-squelch-by-nina-parmenter/

https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk/poetry-submissions-all/nina-parmenter-araucaria-araucana

Bio: Nina Parmenter’s first collection will be published by Indigo Dreams in 2022. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Honest Ulsterman, Atrium Poetry, Snakeskin, Allegro Poetry, Green Ink, and Ink Sweat and Tears. In 2021, she was winner of the Hedgehog Poetry single poem contest and was nominated for the Forward Prize. She lives in Wiltshire but can be found online at www.ninaparmenter.com or on Twitter @ninaparmenter.




A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ilari Pass

with Ilari Pass:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Ilari: Since I was 10 years old, writing hasn’t always been a great escape for me because I had to think about what to say and how to say it whenever I did write. I hated it…until I heard my mother playing one of her favorite Beatles’ album Abbey Road. From that moment on, I was hooked. I began writing and collecting a lot of journals, writing my heart out about anything and…everything…whatever I was thinking about that moment, which eventually became my great escape. I didn’t have any particular reason, but I wanted to keep my mind stimulated and just write, which I think it was a lot more important than I have anticipated but didn’t know it yet. I realize how I write is a reflection of who I am as a person and how I am perceived by others.  

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Ilari: My biggest influences are my parents. It was important to them that I read a book every day, as much as possible. They used to tell me stories about their ancestors during the time of slavery, “Once upon a time, black people weren’t allowed to read or write. They died for us so we can live the dream of becoming storytellers.” I never forgot that.  My mother used to read to me a different story every night, with some of my all-time favorites, Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day, and Peter’s Chair to Munro Leaf’s The Story of Ferdinand, and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, and many more.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Ilari:

I grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey.  Growing up in the NY, NJ, CT Tri-State Area was a real treat, with just a train ride away to anywhere I wanted to go—it was wonderful. As for writing, I really can’t recollect anything else about my writing experience until I was a sophomore in high school. Three days a week after school, I would go to my father’s place of business where he further demonstrated the power of language at his insurance and travel agency in East Orange, New Jersey. He couldn’t stress enough how important writing is, and how powerful words are. One thing that will always resonate with me, “Everything in life is perfectly balanced. Writing should be done the same way.”  I’m a “late bloomer,” so to speak, and my experience of travel away from home greatly improved my written work much later in my life.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Ilari: My first creative nonfiction piece called “The Color of Pilgrimage.” It’s a story about my traveling to Saudi Arabia with my son for the lesser pilgrimage called Umrah. It gives readers a picture of prejudice and reconciliation, and it also gives insight into a faith tradition unfamiliar to many Americans. And for being a black, Muslim woman, this story is personal, yet rewarding.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Ilari: Let me be clear on something: I used to hate poetry. I used to hate having to think about the meaning and trying to read between the lines of what the poem meant. However, I was thinking about a friend of mine who passed away several years ago and wrote a poem about him. It is called “Entropy.”

Entropy

Dawn, the sun sliding
above the mountains. The fog floats
on top the lake, morning dew.
Everything emerges, fresh
and fragrant. Insects burr, the campfire
is almost out: hearing its sizzle and whistle
means a man can leave.
A bird flies, heading to the lake,
disappearing in the fog.
Yes, I think, I see.

That poem, which went through many drafts, eventually appeared in The Penmen Review. Writing the poem helped me rediscover my deep joy in language.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Ilari: Reading and learning different Surahs (chapters) and Ayahs (verses) from the Quran and traveling.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Ilari: I am currently working on my first poetry collection. So, stay tuned.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Ilari: The Quran is not a work of poetry. However, this is one of my favorite Ayah:

 Verily We created man from a product of wet earth; Then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe lodging; Then fashioned We the drop a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as another creation.  So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators! Then lo! after that ye surely die.

                        —The Noble Quran; Surah Al-Mu’minum (The Believers) 23:12-15

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Ilari: My parents helped me first. But later in my life, when I was 42 (sigh) two important people—former writing mentor and poet, M. Douglas Smith, who is deceased, helped me change and shape the trajectory of my writing. One important reminder that he shared with me is to always expect rejections. He said, “If work gets accepted all of the time, more likely this person is not a good writer. And if you think Stephen King got his work accepted all the time, forget it!” What I learned early on working with him is rejection is a part of acceptance. When Smith died, I stopped writing; I lost confidence and I didn’t believe in myself….until…Barrett Warner, author of Why Is It So Hard to Kill You? made a grand entrance into my life. It was like my life and work has been revived. He continues to give me invaluable advice on so many writing techniques—try everything, how to say it, what to say, not to say, etc. But no matter what, he tells me to keep writing, keep revising, keep writing. My favorite experience of his, “I come from the school where I have no imagination, so if I didn’t live it, I can’t write about it. I sort of live the poem before I write it. I don’t feel like I have to die to write about death, but for a long time, I felt that way.”

“This is way I always wanted to write. I am 52 years young and I am still learning and waiting for my muse to tickle me.”

Bio: Ilari Pass holds a BA in English from Guilford College of Greensboro, NC, and an MA in English, with a concentration in literature, from Gardner-Webb University of Boiling Springs, NC. Her work appears or forthcoming in Rat’s Ass Review, As It Ought To Be, Rigorous, Unlikely Stories, Paterson Literary Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, Common Ground Review, JuxtaProse, Drunk Monkeys, Sledgehammer Lit, The Daily Drunk, Rejection Letters, Free State Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and others.

Poem by Ilari Pass : “Air, Interrupted”

,

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Rose Knapp

with Rose Knapp:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Rose: I started writing in my mid twenties. I devoured all kinds of poetry at first.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Rose: I would say the Dadaists and Futurists are a large influence. I’m a trans woman, and other trans poets like Jennifer Espinoza and torrin greathouse have been influential for me.

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?

Rose: I had a period where I was realizing that poetry and music were what I wanted to pursue.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Rose: I’m often a loner and I’m self taught, but I find reading others’ work and worldview helps me the most.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & have any travels away from home influence your work?

Rose: I grew up in Minneapolis, and have lived in New York City and Los Angeles. I think place inevitably influences your writing, although I lean towards more abstract poetry where place isn’t as apparent.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Rose: I feel very accomplished about my most recent collection, Tantric Tanankh.

Tantric Tanankh by Rose Knapp

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Rose: Listening to a variety of music, usually electronic music. Going for walks.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Rose:

Rush of emotions I’ve lost touch with or
Never experienced before curvy physique

Perky breasts smooth skin that feels so
Right, I Am becoming my own Goddess

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Rose:

‘HRT’, ‘Incinerate’, ‘Cafe Acid’, ‘Climbing Climate’ and ‘Neutrino Quarks’ by Rose Knapp


5 short poems by Rose Knapp : Immortality,George Floyd, Prayer, Jaguar Dreaming,Empress of the Night

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Matt Mason

with Matt Mason:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Matt: I started writing in high school. Even though I didn’t like the poetry we were studying, I found the form was perfect for saying what mattered to me. My first influences were probably Roger Waters with a little Robert Frost thrown in.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Matt: Probably all the poets I didn’t feel inspired by in high school… Keats and Coleridge along with current writers like Patricia Smith and Denise Duhamel.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Matt:

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and that influenced my writing by the way folks around me talked, saying really interesting and profound things using understandable phrasing that emphasized bringing in a listener.
Travel has been a big part of my life. I used to work at a job until I had enough money in the bank, then quit and drive around the country until I needed to go back home and get another job. As a result, I have a manuscript in the works about road trips and I just had a book accepted for publication that’s a collection of poems about Disneyland.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Matt: I know it sounds weird, but it’s probably the manuscript I just finished about Disneyland. It started with Disneyland but went on to be more about the scope of my life, midlife, my parents passing away, and more.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Matt: I was in Des Moines, Iowa at a reading by Galway Kinnell where the way he read the poem “Oatmeal” showed me that the kind of poems I write, which I wasn’t finding in books and anthologies, are legitimate.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Matt: Driving around Nebraska to talk about poetry with people (students, adults, poets).

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Matt: My most recent book, I Have A Poem The Size of the Moon, came out during the pandemic and I haven’t been able to even have the book launch yet. I’m excited to spend the next year doing readings from it. Once the world settles enough to start scheduling said readings…

https://www.bookwormomaha.com/book/9781622889020

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Matt: I’m terrible at this (No, that’s not a line from a poem), so I’m going to deflect by giving a line I like from poet John G. Neihardt: “Poetry, in its highest moments, is an emotional approximation of the inexpressible…”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Matt: Other poets. I still see myself as someone learning, so when I meet poets on the level of a peer, it’s still amazing. So poets like Debra Marquart, JV Brummels, Saddiq Dzukogi, and more have, even in small, kind ways, made such a huge difference.

                              Nebraska State Poet, 2019-2023

          Executive Director, Nebraska Writers Collective: newriters.org
                            My homepage: Matt.MidVerse.com
                    Find Nebraska poetry info at: PoetryMenu.com

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Laura Grevel

photo by Andrew Lee

with Laura Grevel:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Laura: I started writing when I was 17, mostly essays. My first influences were my storytelling grandparents, the books I read, nature, and the visual arts. I loved to listen to people tell stories. I loved to read—fiction, essays, poetry, mysteries. I loved plants and flowers and parks and west Texas and Mexico. I loved the paintings and sculpture of my parents and their artist friends.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Laura: My biggest influences today are my many poetry friends in the East Midlands, UK, and my two poetry workshop groups, Write The Poem and the Paper Cranes Collective. During the pandemic, Zoom Open Mics have also given me exposure to many poets from all over. Hearing these various poets read their work aloud and reading their poetry books and blogs give me new food for thought. I also read various famous poets, both dead and alive.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Laura:

I grew up in Austin, Texas, which was a creative, open-minded city where artists were celebrated.  Visual artists, musicians, writers.  That has certainly given me validity even if I lacked confidence.  I was a late bloomer.  I was afraid partly because my parents had a hard time making a living at art and thus, I shied away from going into it with full passion.

I have also been influenced by the lovely natural environment of Austin with its parks and creeks and river, and the agricultural background of my grandparents, with the rougher yet spiritual space and openness of West Texas.  Nature is an important part of my world.

My travels have influenced me –not that I traveled on many individual trips –but my moves to different places.  The Washington, D.C. area, several areas in Texas, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and central England.  These places, and the people I have met, have deeply influenced my worldview, my compassion, my word treasure chest by various languages, and made me an immigrant, which is a different place and time.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Laura: My novels are my most intricate work, and are set in different countries and cultures of Texas, Mexico, and Austria.
My poetry performance pieces can help people feel a connection to others and may inspire people to think in a new way.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Laura: When I was 17, I told my English professor I’d like to be a writer. He said I already sculpted language as my father sculpted clay. (I took what he said as permission but it was the feeling the act of writing gave me, that propelled me.)

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Laura: I love to take long walks, to ride bikes with family, to garden, to work in the woods cutting down nettles and brambles around young trees to give them light to grow.
I love to read books, to practice foreign languages I’ve learned in the various countries I have lived in. Lately, with my husband, I am reading aloud youth books in German to improve that language.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Laura: Here’s a YouTube link to my latest collaborative poetry video and others:

“Girl Walking Across Europe” by Poets For Refugees:

Abuela Solar (Solar Grandmother):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRZnXo238so&t=121s

The Wedding Dress:

Fevers of the Mind #Stopthehate poems: https://feversofthemind.com/2021/06/11/stopthehate-poems-by-laura-grevel-texas-freeze-over-people-are-looking/

Laura Grevel:

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx1dH7vxwIljVxPd8fs_9xQ

Blog:  https://lgrevel.wordpress.com/

Website:  http://lgrevel.org/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LauraGrevel/

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Laura:

Wallace Stevens’ lines from the poem The Man With the Blue Guitar:

They said, “You have a blue guitar,

You do not play things as they are.”

The man replied, “Things as they are

Are changed upon the blue guitar.”

And they said then, “But play, you must,

A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar

Of things exactly as they are.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Laura: My husband Joachim is my biggest fan and listener through the years.  My poet and writer friends in the East Midlands, UK, and at Open Mics and poetry groups have been helping me grow and grow.  Thanks especially to Sue Allen and Alexandra Coates for their input and encouragement.