with Stephen Page:
Q1: When did you begin writing and first influences?
Stephen: In the second grade, during class, I used to exchange notes with the pretty girl who sat in the chair in front of me. They were about the silly things that 2nd graders write about, the teacher, the class bully, how we should have longer recesses, etc. Mine were rhyming and I always managed to slip a line in one or two about the color of her hair. I had read a lot of Dr. Seuss up until then so poetry was ingrained in me.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Stephen: There are so many, but just to name a few: Madeline Miller, Daniel Loedel, Tina Clark, Sven Birketts, Amanda Gorman, Cristopher J. LeBron, Houzan Mahmoud, Ocean Vuong, Joy Harjo, Chelsea Rathburn, Kavah Akbar, Jimyun Yun, Chen Chen, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Layli Long Soldier, Erica Plouffe Lazure, Vi Khi Nao, Kelli Russel Agodon, Lauren Davis, Danez Smith, Emily Jungmin Yoon, Martin Ott, Fatimah Ashgar, Ilya Kaminsky, Sodra Sykes Meek, Jim Daniels, Elizabeth Spires, Sandra Cisneros, Mong Lan, Emily Skaja, Ada Limón, Jack C. Buck, Elvira Sastre . . . and those are just a handful of the contemporary writers whom I have read and been mesmerized by, so their writing obviously impresses my muse, who gives me my words.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Stephen: I was raised in the suburbs of Detroit, but my Mom had relatives who lived UP North, in wooded areas near the top of the mitten. There was a lot of trees, rivers, lakes, indigenous flora and fauna—so those trips helped instill into me a deep love of nature, and as I grew, and I noticed the natural areas dwindling and suffering from climate change, this pounded into me the importance of saving our planet from destruction (which, nature and climate change, appear in some form or another in most of my writings).
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Stephen: All of them.
Q5: Is there any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Stephen: Yes, I was taking my first literature class at college, right after I had served seven years in the U.S. Marines. Well, this book the teacher assigned, “Intro to Literature,” was a hardcover, about 4 inches thick, and weighed around 20 pounds. I was, as were the other students, assigned to read everything in it and write weekly reports and reviews until the end of the semester. By the time I had read the first 10 pages of the book (filled with the so-called Classics) I started writing poems and short stories in the margins of the pages, soon to be followed by a novella I wrote one weekend. I told myself, “Hey, this is fun. This is who I am.”
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Stephen: Spending time with my wife, preparing her breakfast, waking her up and handing her a cup of hot tea as she opens her eyes, taking long walks on the beach holding hands, watching TV with her, going to the movies, the theater, the opera, a ballet, a museum, an art gallery, on a vacation, or sharing fine dining.
I also love reading, solitude, thinking, meditating, sitting in front of the sea or in the middle of a woods while connecting with the Universe, adventuring, wandering off to find arbitrary experiences, road trips, the smell of a leather jacket while I wear it, riding a motorcycle, making noise on my electric bass, sipping an ice-cold beer and crushing the can with one hand, watching baseball all day on Sundays, and biting into a juicy cheeseburger.
Q7: Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Stephen: I am working on a book right now, in the second-draft stage. I don’t talk very much about what I am currently writing. I wait until it is published.
These are the covers of my first 4 books, which, except for the out-of-print second one, may be found on Amazon, or through an internet search:
The titles are, The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, A Ranch Bordering the Salty River, and The Salty River Bleeds. You may also check out my blog (https://smpages.wordpress.com) to read any poems, stories, or literary criticisms I have had published.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem or writing of yours or others?
Stephen: Oh, my next one.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Stephen: My muse.
Bio: Stephen Page loves accidentally on purpose losing his cell phone and dog-earing pages in books. He is part Apache, part Shawnee, part Mexican, part English, part Scottish, and part Irish. He graduated from Columbia U (magna cum laude & writing honors) and Bennington College. He has 4 books of poems, dozens of short stories, countless poems, essays, and literary criticisms published. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize for Poetry, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, a First Place Prize in Poetry from Bravura Magazine, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant.