A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Susan Richardson

with Susan Richardson:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Susan: I have been writing since I was a child, and like most children, I started with stories. I didn’t start writing poetry until I was in my teens, and then in my twenties started submitting my work to magazines and journals. My first poetry influences were Plath, Sexton and Olds; some of my favourite fiction writers are Amy Tan, Alice Hoffman and Jane Austen.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Susan: Sylvia Plath will always be one of my biggest influences; her work taught me what poetry could do, the power and the beauty of it. There are so many amazing contemporary poets, it is hard to choose who influences me most, but to name a few; June Jordan, Dorianne Laux and Kim Addonizio.

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

Susan: I grew up in a small beach town in California, and although I don’t see it as a huge influence on my writing, it does make some appearances on occasion in my poems.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Susan: I recently moved from California to Ireland and I am definitely finding myself inspired in new ways; it makes a difference when everywhere you look, the landscape is breathtaking

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

Susan: The moment when I became a writer happened when I was six years old. Each student in my first grade class was asked to write a story about Thanksgiving; most of the kids wrote stories about pilgrims and holiday feasts, but I wrote a story about a turkey who walks in front of a car so he won’t be killed for Thanksgiving dinner. It was called “The Sad Turkey” Heavy stuff perhaps, for a six year old child, but I believe that story defined me as a writer.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Susan: I have always loved to read. I also crochet, which I find relaxing, and I am getting into gardening.

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

Susan: https://t.co/OCFUweyBU2 full length collection, “Things My Mother Left Behind”, is available from Potter’s Grove Press Books to read for 2021: Things My Mother Left Behind by Susan Richardson (Potter’s Grove Press) with “Leaves” from the book

Link for book: https://t.co/BKthMciCyF, and I am working on a new project that I am super excited about, but the details are still under wraps. 

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

Susan: I don’t really have one specific line from any of my own poems that I can call my favourite, but I do have moments when I am writing when the words just seem to come together in ways that make me excited.  One of my favourite lines from Sylvia Plath, a line that inspired me to get serious about poetry, is from Mad Girl’s Love Song – “I shut my eyes, and all the world drops dead”.  

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Susan: I have had a handful of incredible teachers who encouraged me to keep writing, also my Mom and Dad, who both loved poetry and music, and my husband, who is my biggest supporter.

Poem by Susan Richardson : “Mean Girls”

https://burninghousepress.com/2018/06/23/3-poems-by-susan-richardson/

Books to read for 2021: Things My Mother Left Behind by Susan Richardson (Potter’s Grove Press) with “Leaves” from the book

The first thing I noticed when reading Susan’s writing is the descriptive imagery, she makes you feel every emotion she feels.  This is a trait in writing that I admire and her telling of loss and depression at times returns me back on imagery I rarely see outside of Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath.  The poetry reads like the story of her life through the love, loss, grief, the screaming pinches in the soul that losing a parent, child, or sibling staples-in forever.  She also hauntingly describes the progress of losing her sight as she has gone from a sky full of stars both sentient and still to the ones who blink out erratically til there is nothing left to burn.  These are not just some poems.  These are her life.  Emotions are hers.  When you read this collection of poetry the Emotions are yours too.  “Between Sight and Blindness” “Stitching Bones” the loves that got away “Cactus Garden” the pains that diseases bring, the people they take away, the hearts that feels like a car puttering out over the rainy bridge with nowhere to go, these poems will “scatter into the sky” scratching at the stars looking for the brightest one yet receiving in return a turning off the lights inside of Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, in demure breath wanting the world see the pain. A wonderful read.  A wonderful trip into the mind. We need more of her poetic vision.

Susan Richardson is an award winning, internationally published poet. She is the author of “Things My Mother Left Behind”, from Potter’s Grove Press, and also writes the blog, “Stories from the Edge of Blindness

”. She lives in Ireland with her husband, two pugs and two cats.  You can find her on Twitter @floweringink, listen to her on YouTube , and read more of her work on her website

Leaves

Another hospital room,
another chair holding the weight of my sorrow.
His breath is almost soundless,
mouth open wide
as if inviting god into his lungs one last time.

His eyes flutter awake,
startled.

Is it my face he sees,
dulled by time,
or a face that once held the sun?

He smiles and strokes my fifty-year old hand,
all the years drifting away.
The blues sit perched on his dry lips.
I am his child,
four years old singing Lead Belly
at the top of my tiny lungs

I am a drop of his blood
spilling out onto the Earth,
a fracture of his bones
stuck into the ground with paper spikes.
I am the tear from his eye,
heavy, 
reluctant.

His hands are a whisper that tell a story,
a smattering of leaves on his palm,
fingers plucking at things only he can see,
my mother,
my brother,

both long dead.

I watch his chest barely rising,
each small breath
a forest of words trapped in the mist of his memory.
I wait for his stillness,
for the breaking pieces of his mind to be at rest.
He sits in my palm now,
softly,
frail like the wing of a sparrow.
He folds into shapes
so tiny
so quiet.

Poem by Susan Richardson : “Mean Girls”

Poem by Susan Richardson : “Mean Girls”

Smiley, Angry, Black, Mean, Smirk, Face

Mean Girls

glide through rooms
diaphanous surfaces
slipping through fingers
breezes hatch storms
brutality lurks
beneath flawless skin
pretty legs 
strut
platform shoes 
stamp out hearts
eyes command the sun
lashes twinkle
soft edges
a mirage
perfectly pouting mouths
hide deception 
hollow words 
woven onto tongues
tumble effortlessly
luminous
vanquishing

More from Susan:
Books to read for 2021: Things My Mother Left Behind by Susan Richardson (Potter’s Grove Press) with “Leaves” from the book
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