A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Charlotte Hamrick

with Charlotte Hamrick:

Bio: Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, recently including Emerge Journal, Flash Frontier, Love in the Time of Covid Chronicle, and New World Writing. She’s had nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize and for Micro Madness 2020. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for The Citron Review and reads flash fiction for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Charlotte: I began writing consistently in 1997 when I was 40. My first influence was novelist Susan Wittig Albert who edited a quarterly print newsletter for women called Story Circle Network. It encouraged women to tell their stories and provided wonderful support and pro tips. My first published Creative Nonfiction and my first published poem was in SCN. Story Circle Network is now online and continues to be a fantastic resource that provides many opportunities for learning, teaching, and sharing women’s stories. Another influence was Poet and Editor Helen Losse who, at the time, was Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Helen was very supportive and helpful and she published my very first online submission and a few more thereafter.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Charlotte: I have more than one!
For poetry, definitely Dorianne Laux. Her poetry is gritty, real, and accessible. She goes for the heart and the gut and when you read her work you know exactly what she’s saying. That’s how I want my poetry to be: real and accessible. The same goes for Jericho Brown. Both of these poets are inspired and inspiring.

For CNF, Paul Crenshaw. Man, can he tell a story! I only wish I could command attention with my writing like he does. I admire his willingness to be vulnerable and his honesty. It makes me want to be more open in my own writing.

For Fiction, my dear friend Meagan Lucas who is a phenomenal fiction writer and a phenomenal listener! When I read Meagan’s prose I always learn something in addition to being immersed in her storytelling. I’ve learned a lot about character development from reading her.

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

Charlotte: I was born in New Mexico where I lived until I was four. Then I lived in Ohio until I was nine. In fourth grade I went to four schools in four states – Ohio, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Mississippi. I finally landed in Mississippi until I moved to New Orleans at age 21 and I’ve been here since. All of the places I lived as a child definitely influenced my writing. The experiences and feelings of that time crop up in my writing frequently. It was a turbulent time and writing helps me remember and work through everything that happened.

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

Charlotte: All of my work is meaningful to me. I can’t point to one thing and say “That’s it!” The day to day practice of writing, thinking, creating with intention is meaningful to me.

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

Charlotte: Nope. It really just grew on me in middle age which I think is a time when lots of people realize what’s really important in life and go for it.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Charlotte: Watching British and Scandi crime drama, playing with my dogs, gardening, reading.

Q7: Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Charlotte: I have a Flash Fiction coming out any day in Love in the Time of Covid, a poem in the next issue of Emerge Journal, and a Flash Fiction coming out in October in Still: The Journal.

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

Charlotte:

From my poem about my mother, “One More Day”:

If I could, I’d give myself
one more day with you –
before the sickness, the doctors,
before the last days crept up
on us like a thief at the window.
Just a normal day of normal things,
bacon and eggs after a good night’s rest,
our low murmuring voices in conversation,
beckoning sunlight falling through the glass
door, shimmering the air.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Charlotte: There have been several over the years but to name a few: Meagan Lucas, Tara Isabel Zambrano, Matt Dennison, Michelle Elvy, Sam Rasnake and I thank them all!

Links:

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Hamrick

2 poems by Charlotte Hamrick : Shelter in Place & Swaddling the Beast

3 New poems from Charlotte Hamrick: Holding On, Head Above Water, It is what it is

https://mockingheartreview.com/archives/volume-1-issue-3/charlotte-hamrick/

https://barrenmagazine.com/author/charlotte-hamrick/

http://www.literaryorphans.org/playdb/another-poem-moon-charlotte-hamrick/

https://lunaspeaksblog.com/2019/04/29/interview-charlotte-hamrick/

https://isacoustic.com/2019/10/17/person-charlotte-hamrick-one-poem/

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2019/09/08/tpq5-charlotte-hamrick/

https://nightingaleandsparrow.com/charlotte-hamrick/

http://fictionaut.com/stories/charlotte-hamrick/another-poem-about-the-moon

3 New poems from Charlotte Hamrick: Holding On, Head Above Water, It is what it is

Holding On

If only we could all be
like the children
we once were
before we were pushed
into a harsh reality
by selfish adults.
Our laughter and openness
smothered by discipline,
verbal hands
covering our mouths.
We gathered our moments
in grateful hearts — bits of starlight,
deep woods quiet, wild violets
and jonquils in Spring. We held them
close, like a talisman for the future.
We held on until we didn’t have to.

Head Above Water

There is a world below the surface,
under smiles and affirmative nods, voyages
launched in darkness, in solitude.
Gather your clan, your circle of strays but
hold tight to your heart. The unforgiving
hide in every home’s corner.
Stick to your path mapped in scattered spores.
Trudgen through blue, to the truth in the center
of virgin growth, to the end you never saw coming.

It is what it is

Years flow together waiting
for a thing to begin, an Avocado seed
waiting on the window sill in a glass
of water, gestating.
The parallels of our existence
didn’t go unnoticed.
Waiting was our life, waiting
for our hormones to get things done,
for a bit of matter to make itself known.
Deep within us nothing moved
while the world
around us continued to turn.
Other plants grew and greened,
other children cried and crawled,
but we stayed still.
One day, I let you go. Another day,
I let myself go.
There are ways to hide yourself away
or choose to change perspective.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Hamrick

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Hamrick

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Charlotte Hamrick

Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in numerous online and print journals, recently including Emerge Journal, Flash Frontier, Love in the Time of Covid Chronicle, and New World Writing. She’s had nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize and for Micro Madness 2020. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for The Citron Review and reads flash fiction for Fractured Lit. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where she sometimes does things other than read and write.

2 poems by Charlotte Hamrick : Shelter in Place & Swaddling the Beast

Shelter in Place

A derelict cave lurks under my rib cage,
holds years of ragged breath,
smothering kudzu,

and time-laden clay, hides
the hammering of living things 
near dead, the dawn of every morning

sucked up into prayers.
In a firestorm of words, 
terror waited in silence,

air washed in red 
like Mars, like blood,
like the shredded heart of a broken child.

Swaddling the Beast

Why do the blues creep up
my spine on the most glorious days?
Balmy spring in its best finery, riotous

color, silken breezes, benevolent sunshine –
why does it mock me, tease me, test me?
Sometimes there’s loneliness

in so much beauty, despondency
in such perfection. The whole of creation
is indifferent, has no reason to consider

my blue moods so I hold on for storm clouds,
their shades of purple and gray, their softness
of light, how they swaddle my bête noire.

Charlotte Hamrick’s creative work has been published in numerous online and print journals,
most recently including The Citron Review, Emerge Journal, and New World Writing. She’s had
nominations for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction 2021, and was a Finalist for Micro Madness 2020. She reads for Fractured Lit and was the former CNF Editor for Barren
Magazine. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets where
she sometimes does things other than read and write.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Charlotte Hamrick

Featured photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash