A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Tim Heerdink

with Tim Heerdink:

Tim Heerdink is the author of Somniloquy & Trauma in the Knottseau Well, The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, Checking Tickets on Oumaumua, Sailing the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call, Ghost Map, A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread, and short stories, The Tithing of Man and HEA-VEN2. His poems appear in various journals and anthologies. He is the President of Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville, Indiana.

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Tim: My love for writing started back in elementary school when I’d write stories prompted four our weekly journal entries. My teachers said I was on to something, which is ironic, because I went to fail a number of English classes in high school while writing songs for bands I fronted with the hope of getting a record out. Poetry that wasn’t song lyrics came in when I took creative writing classes in college, where I excelled once again.

Some of my first influences included Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Sylvia Plath, W.H. Auden, and Anne Sexton.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Tim: Much of my influence comes from writers I know. There are three poets along with myself that I call the Four Horsemen: Tony Brewer, Jon Koker, and Joseph Fulkerson. Mike Whicker left an everlasting impression with me when I first started publishing books back in 2018. One of the major subjects I write about is the Holocaust. He’s big on World War II history and has a wonderful series of books set in that era along with the standalone, Flowers for Hitler. Two professors who helped shape my poetic mind are Matthew Graham and Marcus Wicker.

Eva Kor, Elie Wiesel, Stephen Nasser, and all the other Holocaust survivors in the world continue to inspire me.

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

Tim: I grew up in Chandler, Indiana, which is not far from the city of Evansville where I was born. We had a nice house in the country away from the trouble that may have ensued if we stayed where we were living for the first six years of my life. Our old neighborhood became run down over the years. It was nice to be able to perform music outside your house, ride bikes, and just be a kid without neighbors complaining or traffic running you down.

Nature is inspiring for sure. My love for birds shows in A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread from Between Shadows Press.


Travel is important to my life and my work. A number of poems drew inspiration from being in different places. Red Flag and Other Poems and Razed Monuments both take from my study of the Holocaust while visiting concentration camps in Germany and Poland.

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

Tim:

My most meaningful work would have to be my efforts to keep the Holocaust in conversation with Red Flag and Other Poems and Razed Monuments. While the former stresses the importance of remembrance, the latter builds upon that ideology and asks that history not be razed but built as a memorial so others can be vigilant in current events.

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

Tim: Teachers telling me I had something going for me with my writing growing up gave me confidence. One of my childhood friends had an author for a father. I always thought it’d be amazing to have my own books someday.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Tim: One of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing is play board games. I’d love to design my own game in the future. My favorites are Scythe, Tapestry, and Wingspan, which are all from Stonemaier Games. Wingspan also helped influence me to write A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread.

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

Tim: Tony Brewer and I are back on tour this summer. My two latest books, Ghost Map and A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread, are limited runs that have sold out, so I’m primarily pushing Razed Monuments since it was my last widespread release from Finishing Line Press in December 2020. Also in tow are previous books, The Human Remains, which was the book we started touring on before the pandemic, and Red Flag and Other Poems.



The Midwest Writers Guild, of which I am president, started a chapbook series this year. My offering in February included Checking Tickets of Oumaumua, a collection of space-oriented poems.



Another limited run chapbook I put out in March saw a great departure from my usual style. Sailing on the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call was published by Roaring Junior Press. One longer poem dealing with a lost at sea sailor who finds himself drawn to the song of a siren. I couldn’t be happier with how that one turned out.



In December, my next full-length collection, Somniloquy & Trauma in the Knottseau Well will be published by Cajun Mutt Press. It has many nightmares contained within its pages. There are several characters that visit me in the throws of sleep. They remind me of John Berryman and his Dream Songs.

You can find information for my books along with more dates on my website for the tour with Tony Brewer as we add them, but here is our current trek:

July 10            Bluestocking Social – Evansville, Indiana
July 16            Tower Grove Park – St. Louis, Missouri
July 17            Barb’s Books – Belle, Missouri
July 18            KOPN FM – Columbia, Missouri
October 26      The Focal Point – St. Louis, Missouri

Website: www.timheerdink.com 
Facebook: @TimHeerdinkWriter
Twitter: @THeerdink 
Instagram: @heerdinktim
Patreon: patreon.com/timheerdink

midwestwritersguild.com 

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

Tim:

If I could rewrite the ending
would it make a difference,
or should I look back, thinking
of my love lost in remembrance?

from “Unthankful Givings” in The Human Remains

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Tim:

Matthew Graham and Marcus Wicker helped steer me toward a betterment of the craft while under their wing at University of Southern Indiana.

My wife always encouraged me being one of my first constant readers. I’ve added a number of people who read all my work when it’s published. There are a select few who get it all as it leaves my head.

There’d be no me without my mom, who passed away May 2020 from brain cancer. She gave me this ability. Losing her produced some of the poems found in three of my chapbooks from 2021. I have a new manuscript, Final Flight as the Fog Becomes Night, that is currently being shopped around for a publisher. May there be even more healing in 2022.

The last, but not least, great help in my continued writing are my children. I meant to publish my first book, what was supposed to be Last Lights of a Dying Sun, before my first daughter was born. That didn’t happen, and that novel is still in progress. It doesn’t look like the novel will be done for quite some time, but I do have some short stories in the works and another daughter on the way. All when it is meant to be.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Tim Heerdink

2 poems from Tim Heerdink from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 : “Tether” & “What’s Left Over From a Haunting”

3 poems by Tim Heerdink: “Algorithm for a Lost Thought” “Old Tricks” “Checkmate”

Poems by Tim Heerdink: Us Motherless Men & Maybe This Will Be the Last Time






2 poems from Tim Heerdink from Fevers of the Mind Press Presents the Poets of 2020 : “Tether” & “What’s Left Over From a Haunting”

Tether
for Audrey Marie Louise Heerdink

Drifting out of this reality 	toward the curtain
mainly young 		children and pets can witness,
           I slip into 	                 the gray matter reflected
when you gaze 		into another’s eyes.
 Holding place for 	                    wanderers and thinkers
like me, the genesis of 		meaning beckons
      the living to become 		displaced.

            Astral projection with 		deceased persons
takes more tolls 	than the Bunker Hill
       Memorial Bridge when 		you’ve forgotten
to turn and 	circle back through
        the tunnel of 			lost commuters.

      If it weren’t for 	    the angelic voice
my daughter uses to 			call out
    for daddy, 	      I’d still be floating
off somewhere 			    I don’t belong
      around people 		who desire
claim and 	harm
      if they don’t 			get their way.

What’s Left Over from a Haunting

Enter the shell which
used to be called home
long before you held your baby girl,
after the city
forced a relocation;
an attempt at a new beginning.

This structure,
walls where love lived
while another force sat
dormant at the end of your bed,
watching sleeping occupants
as breath came and went.

For half a decade,
the belief that residual apparitions
after an intervention of biblical measure
found peace like
troubled children
when the tired parent finally notices
they’ve gone missing.

A twelve gauge meant to claim
an entire family
but only took the father
who forgot the first rule
of self-preservation
still resides upstairs
along with the man who knocks
constantly on the plaster.
He’s waiting for his loved ones
to come home.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Tim Heerdink

3 poems by Tim Heerdink: “Algorithm for a Lost Thought” “Old Tricks” “Checkmate”

King, Chess, Checkmate, Board Game

Algorithm for a Lost Thought

Add 1 pinch of existential terror,
multiply it by your short comings.

Find the ex who distorted your brain,
pat the regenerated earth & walk away.

Just playing around;
she's probably walking somewhere
above ground.

Divide yourself too many times
until you get close to that zero.

You can't be everywhere
& nowhere
in the same instance.

So, subtract yourself
from this word problem,
because there's more to life
worth solving.

Old Tricks

Crack open my cranium & lay out my tricks;
be sure to organize them by their strangeness
& find something you can use, too, while you're at it.

Wife & I used to snap shots at couples' nuptials
so later they could look in a book & see
the times in life they used to be happy.

We still find ourselves in makeshift picture capture
positions, lying down for that upside down frown
knowing sixty-percent come to divorce in the end.

I shut off any type of communication with hereafter
after things starting following me back home;
there's no need for that energy around my girls.

All the cleansings attempted in years before
showed seepage slipping deeper within
a space some claim to call a soul.

Checkmate

Concentrate with great diligence
on this battlefield where a great mate
proves its importance.

While pawns & knights go to fight
in the name of you, glorious king,
remember you ain't shit without your queen.

Don't pick a spouse based off appearances
for eventually the need to rub together wears out
& you're left with an earache with no remedy.

Before you take a prospective to bed
offer to wash her car inside & out
you'll be glad that you did.

If she has rotting food & bodily fluids
staining every fiber of fabric within
it's best you lose her number & never speak again.

Bios & more
 Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Tim Heerdink

Poems by Tim Heerdink: Us Motherless Men & Maybe This Will Be the Last Time

 3 poems by Tim Heerdink : “In a City of Cathedrals, I Weep” “Veteran’s Day” “When the Cardinal Comes to Visit”

Poems by Tim Heerdink: Us Motherless Men & Maybe This Will Be the Last Time

Us Motherless Men

I woke up just before 8 on a Sunday
without a voice singing Happy Birthday
at that time where I entered this existence.

Everyone in their beds while I scooched
past the pooch to stare at the older man
staring back at me in that dim night light.

There’s a growing list of acquaintances
who find this celebration hard for grins
as we travel along, us motherless men.

Maybe This Will Be the Last Time

after James Benger

The rain’s still falling
even on the inside.

Each clock’s hands gone dead
like maybe it’s time to unwind.

My pockets are filled with empty promises
I use when dead presidents aren’t found.

Come & give me your mind if I’m still around,
but knowing you through verse, I think you understand.

We’re all trying to find a place to sleep
& a little bit of that lost sunshine.

Some of us hope not to wake,
but maybe this will be the last time.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Tim Heerdink

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Tim Heerdink

Tim Heerdink

Tim Heerdink is the author of Somniloquy & Trauma in the Knottseau Well, The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, Checking Tickets on Oumaumua, Sailing the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call, Ghost Map, A Cacophony of Birds in the House of Dread, and short stories, The Tithing of Man and HEA-VEN2. His poems appear in various journals and anthologies. He is the President of Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville, Indiana.