A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ryan Flett

with Ryan Flett:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Ryan: I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, but I didn’t take up poetry until a few years ago, well into my 30’s. I used to read a lot of science fiction and really liked authors like David Brin and Arthur C Clarke. Some years back I decided that when it came to my reading I needed to branch out into different genres and came upon a book of poetry by Charles Wright that I absolutely fell in love with.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Ryan: I would say Mary Oliver. Her voice and her insights into nature and our place in it are stunning. I’d be delighted if someday I could be even one tenth the poet she was. I think Tom Hennen is a phenomenal and tragically overlooked poet.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Ryan: I grew up (and still reside in) the Pacific Northwest. I grew up really close to nature, and I spent my youth camping and backpacking. I currently live in a rural area where I can watch deer from my kitchen table. So there’s always that thread of nature that runs through most of my work, and it’s probably why I feel such an affinity for Oliver and Wright.

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

Ryan: That’s a tough question to answer. I’d like to think that everything I put out there, whether it’s on my blog or on Twitter, is meaningful. This is like asking me to pick a favorite child–I just can’t do it!

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

Ryan: I always knew that I wanted to write. But I always imagined it would be novels. In school we’re taught a lot of the classics in units and lessons on poetry, and much of that is unrelatable or inaccessible to an adolescent, so I think we condition people to think of poetry as something unapproachable. If you told me five years ago that I would consider myself a poet I would have laughed. It was only when I was older that I wanted to try something new and branch out and saw that there’s a lot of wisdom in poetry. I really started shifting gears with my writing when I finally realized that you can tell a complete story in a poem, and it’s often more impactful than any novel.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Ryan: I really love animals and I try to spend as much time as possible with mine (we have dogs, rabbits, and a parrot). I’ve really taken an interest in gardening recently. I also am an amateur computer programmer and make apps and videogames.

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

Ryan: I’ve been sitting on a collection of poems for over a year now. I don’t know if I’ll ever publish them. But if I do you’ll be the first to know! (Ryan will have some of his poetry published in Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest Issue 5 in August)

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

Ryan: One of my favorite poems is a short one by Charles Wright entitled “Whatever Happened to Al Lee?” that goes:

What happened is what happens to all of us: we walked
On the earth, we threw a couple of handfuls of dirt
Into the air, and when it came down it covered us.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Ryan: I’ve always thought of writing as a rather solitary endeavor, and I’m not particularly keen on workshopping things. I’d say ultimately the support of my family and girlfriend has really encouraged me to keep writing. And certainly the poetry community of Twitter has been fabulous.

Twitter: @ryanwritespoems

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Ryan Flett

2 poems by Ryan Flett : “How Dreams Die” “Some Nights”

Poem “Swallow the Night” by Ryan Flett

2 poems by Ryan Flett : “How Dreams Die” “Some Nights”

How Dreams Die

A primal scream--
   my voice
meets the wind
   and the remains of
a dream are scattered
   like ashes

Some Nights

Some nights my thoughts
   shimmer like
sunlight on water,
   and some nights my thoughts
are so numerous they
   could fill the voids
between the stars.

Still some nights they
   dwindle to
one thought that beats
   like a drum in my skull.
And on some rare nights
   they elude me altogether,
like the moon
   escapes the sun at dawn.

Some nights
   the answers are so clear
I pluck them
   from the ether and
put them in my pocket,
   but upon waking I find
I've forgotten the questions. 

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Ryan Flett

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Ryan Flett

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I’ve been writing poetry since about 2019. Some of my favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Charles Wright, and Charles Bukowski. I currently work as a registered nurse and as a programmer at a small video game company a friend and I founded this year. Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I’ve found poetry is the ideal way for me to express myself. I’ve had some work published in Eve Poetry Magazine, but primarily post my work to Twitter (@ryanwritespoems). I’m currently working on my first chapbook. I live in Oregon and am a Pacific Northwest native.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Martins Deep

Martins Deep

Martins Deep (he/him) is a budding African poet, photographer/artist, & currently a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His works deeply explores the African experience. His creative works have appeared, or are forthcoming on FIYAH, The Roadrunner Review, Barren Magazine, The Sandy River Review, Eunoia Review, Agbowó Magazine, Surburban Review, Twyckenham Notes, FERAL, Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World, Kalahari Review, & elsewhere. He loves jazz, adores Amanda Cook, and fantasizes reincarnating as an owl. He tweets @martinsdeep1