A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Catherine Graham

photo by Marion Voysey

with Catherine Graham:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Catherine: I began writing poetry after the deaths of my parents. They died during my undergraduate years. Mother, my first year, father, my last. Grief hit me hard but also became a catalyst to my creative journey which I expand on below. First influences include Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton.

The Colossus and Other Poems

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Catherine: The creative process is my biggest influence. I pay attention to what triggers my imagination. I follow energy lines from various sources: dreams, dream lines, nature, words, music, books and art and coax them into shape so that I have a draft to play with and see if I might craft it into a poem.

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Catherine: After my parents’ back to back deaths, I was consumed with grief. A worried friend suggested I see a therapist. The therapist suggested I keep a journal. This helped but it wasn’t a cure. One day I started playing with words—images, rhythms and memories of my parents, the water-filled limestone quarry I grew up beside. I fell into a portal where time and pain disappeared and when I came back out I knew something pivotal had happened. Eventually I worked up the courage to share what I’d written with that family friend and she told me I was writing poetry. Of course I knew what poetry was but I didn’t think that I could participate in such an endeavour. At that point the only poems I’d been exposed to were written by bearded men now long dead. But once that connection was made, poetry became the core of my life.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Catherine: I’d have to say my parents. Their deaths fueled my creative life, plus the water-filled limestone quarry we lived beside. My long term editor, Paul Vermeersch, has also helped me immensely on the poetry journey. He’s edited all my poetry collections (except my first chapbook, The Watch). Pupa, The Red Element, Winterkill, Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, The Celery Forest, Æher: An-Out-of-Body Lyric. His belief and continued support mean the world to me. Exchanging poems with writer friends such as James Wyshynski and Ayesha Chatterjee is also extremely helpful.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Catherine: I was born in Hamilton but grew up in small town Ontario. The Niagara Escarpment behind our house in Grimsby became the first landscape I loved, followed by the water-filled limestone quarry beside our bungalow in Ridgeway. When poetry charged into my life, it led me to Northern Ireland where I studied and lived during the 90’s. I love the Irish and Northern Irish poets: Michael Longley, Joan and Kate Newmann, Kathleen McCracken (Canadian and Northern Irish!), and more. I’m grateful many have become dear friends.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Catherine: I’ve written seven collections of poetry and one novel (Quarry) and they are all meaningful to me. Perhaps they serve as one long creative piece. However, the most meaningful of the lot is my recent collection: Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric. It’s a hybrid book—poetry, prose, memoir, lyric essay—a homage to family, to cancer and to the strange windings of truth. 

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Catherine: I love walking, especially in nature. It helps me process thoughts and emotions and deepens my thinking so insights occur, synchronicities happen, and questions or concerns I’m currently grappling with gain new perspectives. Walking brings comfort, joy and balance to my life.

Lake swimming is another activity I love. Front crawl, breast stroke—back and forth. I become one with water. I also love to visit art galleries. I adore looking at art.

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

Catherine: I’ve been working with dream lines lately. Half-awake in the dark, I jot them down in a bedside notebook and hope I’m able to decipher my scribbles in the morning. My mother rarely visits my dreams but before my imminent departure to leave on a poetry reading tour in Northern Ireland, after a very long absence, she said these comforting words: “You’re a game changer. A post-autumn woman.” That line morphed with a dream I had about Seamus Heaney and became part of a recently published poem “Sleep Patterns for Seamus Heaney.” I was honoured to have it appear in University College Dublin / Museum of Literature Ireland’s new journal Belfield Literary Review.

Sleep Patterns for Seamus Heaney

We hold sleep patterns for him.
Clip flowers from seeds; mist

hours from worries
into a line’s heartbeat.

Tears are rinsers,
not energy takers.

Never waterfalls.
We don’t envy

his gift, we coax
something out—

Take me, for instance,
my dead

mother’s voice—
You’re a game changer, a post-autumn woman.

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Catherine:

Well, there’s Æther: An-Out-of-Body Lyric as mentioned above. It’s now out and available for purchase. My second novel, The Most Cunning Heart. appears Spring 2022 and my eighth poetry collection appears in 2023. Some upcoming events include presenting at the CAA conference (https://canadianauthors.org/national/presenters/) leading the Toronto Festival of Authors Book Club (https://festivalofauthors.ca/book-club/) and reading at Word on the Street (https://toronto.thewordonthestreet.ca/) and Gloucester Poetry Festival (http://www.gloucesterpoetryfestival.uk/). Oh, and I wrote about Æther: An-Out-of-Body Lyric here: https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2021/Lit-Locale-Broken-Landscapes-in-AEther-An-Out-of-Body-Lyric.

Readers may also find me on Twitter and Instagram: @catgrahampoet or they may visit my website: www.catherinegraham.com.

Thanks so much for the interview!

https://www.instagram.com/catgrahampoet/?hl=en
https://linktr.ee/CatGrahamPoet
Forthcoming from Palimpsest Press, 2022: The Most Cunning Heart (novel)

Shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards, praise for Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric:
“Catherine Graham’s seventh book of poetry is an intricate reverie, in poetry and prose, which floats back and forth in time and between memories, dreams and reflections.” – Toronto Star

“It is a masterpiece. The melding of poetry and prose into a beautiful and heartbreaking skein, gradual revelation, going back/going forward, weaving in and out, repeating and broadening the meaning as you go. A journey that is fascinating, heartrending, and courageous.” – Marilyn Gear Pilling

https://icefloepress.net/2020/04/20/six-poems-by-catherine-graham/

https://icefloepress.net/three-poems-by-catherine-graham/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Samuel Strathman

with Samuel Strathman:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Samuel:  I started writing four years ago.  My first influences were some of the classic poets from a long, long time ago.  Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Mikhail Lermantov, and Anna Akhmatova are a few names.  Greg Santos and Shannon Bramer were some of the first Canadian poets I really got into.   

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Samuel: My biggest influences today are Chris Banks, Jason Heroux, Stuart Ross, David O’Meara, and Nelson Ball. I would also say that my visual art is influenced by a lot of visual poets such as Michael Orr, Mark Laliberte, and Richard James Biddle. Sometimes books are also good influences. “Syncope” by Asiya Wadud, “Time” by Etel Adnan and “Memory Foam” by Adam Soldofsky have made a great impression on me.

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Samuel: I’d ben wanting to write a novel for years but could never really find my footing. Poetry had come more naturally to me in school so I decided to go with what I had a knack for.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Samuel: My girlfriend, Krystal, is usually the first person to get a crack at editing my work. Jim Johnstone, Robert Frede Kenter, and Kirby have also been integral to my success. Both Jim and Robert have been the main editors in my life. Kirby was the first person to offer me a chance to participate in a reading. Any editor who has published my work, interviewed me, or offered feedback has been of great help.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Samuel: I’ve lived in Toronto my entire life. I’d say that the work I have done with children in my city has been of great influence. They are always brimming with energy and ideas. I’d say that many trips to Simcoe County have been helpful to me in my writing. I tend to do less writing when I’m outside of the province.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Samuel: The most meaningful writing I have done was for the first two and a half years. I had to learn from failure to rise above it.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Samuel: In no particular order: exercise, meditate, read, and spend time with Krystal. Friends and family keep me company when they can.

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

Samuel: One of my favorite vispo books is “’Palingenesia” by Michael Orr.  The collection definitely speaks for itself.

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Samuel: My first full-length poetry collection “Omnishambles” is forthcoming with IceFloe Press later this year.  The book is a blend of speculative/surreal poems meets horror/sci-fi.  I must thank Robert Frede Kenter for agreeing to publish this book.  I wrote most of the poems during this pandemic.  It was one of the things that kept me sane.

Poetry by Samuel Strathman from Fevers of the Mind Anthologies

Bio:

Samuel Strathman is a poet, visual artist, educator, and author.  He is also the editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions.  Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pulp Literature, Cobra Milk, Blank Spaces, and other magazines and journals.  He is the author of the chapbooks “In Flocks of Three to Five” (Anstruther Press, 2020) and “The Incubus” (Roaring Junior Press, 2020).  “Omnishambles” is his first full-length poetry collection.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Anton Pooles

with Anton Pooles:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Anton:

I have always love fairy tales and fantasy, but I never planned on becoming a writer or more specifically a poet. I struggled with reading and writing as a child, and honestly still do, so I had
probably convinced myself I could never be a writer, but somehow, I fell into it. In my mid-twenties I re-discovered many of the Arthurian Romance poems that I had enjoyed reading when I was in
high school and I started writing poems in that style. Poems like “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “Lady of the Lake” by Sir Walter Scott we defiantly my entry point for poetry. The plan
was to add these poems into the fairy stories I was writing at the time, but it opposite occurred and the fairy stories found their way into the poems.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Anton:

I’m often find I am more heavily influenced through visual mediums like film and art than I am with writing. I struggled with reading a great deal when I was a child and still do honestly, but I have
always been in love with film. Most of my greatest influencers have been filmmaker like Fritz Lang and Andrei Tarkovsky. One of the most important would have to be Guillermo Del Toro. He has
become a kind of spiritual mentor of mine.

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

Anton: I was raised in Toronto, but I’m not sure it has ever influenced my writing a great deal. However, there are two places I always seem to come back to. The first is a cottage in Brighton, Ontario that
my parents had when I was a child. I spent a good chuck of my childhood there and so it has become the location for a lot of my poems. The second is the city I was born in, which was
Novosibirsk, Siberia. I left when I was a baby, I have never been back and I have no memory of it, but it gnaws at me as a good ghost should.

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

Anton: I have always been fascinated by Vincent Van Gogh and I have always wanted to write something about him. I got the chance to go to the South of France a few years ago and I was able to visit and stay in certain places that he had been. That got me working on a series of poems about him. So, I guess the answer is, yes.

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

Anton: I’m sure there was, but I can’t remember. Sorry.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Anton: As I said before I LOVE film. Last year I watched over two hundred films. I know that may seem
like a lot, but I need the images they supply, they feed the mind.

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

Anton: I am Editor-in-Chief of Cypress: Literary Journal where we publish poetry and flash fiction/non-fiction. We are always open for submission and publish writers worldwide. We have also published
our first print anthology not to long ago called “The Red House: An Anthology of Genre and Speculative Poetry” which is still available.
https://cypresspress.ca/

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

Anton: “I keep the dead alive by walking on winter nights. My visible breath passes into their invisible lungs.” This is from a poem I’m working on called “Lamplight.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Anton: I took a poetry class at the University of Toronto and my instructor was Catherine Graham. She taught me how to bring the fantastical into the modern era without losing any whimsy in the
process. This is, of course, something I greatly admire in her own writing as well. Her collection “Winterkill” had a profound impact on me.

https://heavyfeatherreview.org/2021/05/19/pooles/

https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2020/07/15/four-poems-visual-art-anton-pooles/

https://icefloepress.net/2020/07/15/four-poems-visual-art-anton-pooles/

https://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic-journal/garden-of-death-by-anton-pooles

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Mary Jaimes-Serrano

200+ "Mary Serrano" profiles | LinkedIn

with Mary Jaimes-Serrano

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Mary: I started writing when I was 8 years old. My first influences were Poe, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Mary: There are so many. The biggest would still be Jane Austen. Newer influences are Maya Angelou, Elisabeth Horan, Ankh Spice, Robert Frede Kenter, Amanda McLeod, Beth Gordon, David Hanlon, MJ Saucer, and Jude Marr.

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

Mary: I grew up all over the U.S. We moved a lot, which taught me to value the time I had and take in the beauty of the world around me. It also gave me an insight into the cruelties that persist throughout the country, which has led to a desire to be a positive influence in the face of so much darkness.

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

Mary: I would have to say the book I am currently working on titled Duplicity, which is about the effects of bipolar and the aftermath of emotional and mental abuse.

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

Mary: I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. My first writings were poems about everything when I was eight. This turned into a passionate desire when I found in poetry a way to write out the feelings I wasn’t allowed to express in my daily life.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Mary: Spending time with my children doing just about anything, watching crime tv, and reading.

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

Mary: I am currently reworking my blog mjaimesserrano.com from a poetry platform to a blog of emotional and mental abuse. Something that will help others out there know they are not alone and that it is okay to walk away.

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

From my poem Soulmates:

Soulmates are not the embodiment of
love, but the infinite
love of one’s being.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Mary: So many people from the #poetrycommunity have helped me to hone my craft and encouraged me to find my voice. Notably are Elisabeth Horan, Beth Gordon, Amanda McLeod, Robert Frede Kenter, MJ Saucer, and Gabriela Blandy.

Links:

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2020/03/16/tpq5-mary-jaimes-serrano/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with M.S. Evans

with M.S. Evans

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

M.S.: I started writing when I was very young, but didn’t share any of it. In 2019 I gave myself permission to finally go for it.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

M.S.: I’m currently diving into work by Bukowski, Louise Gluck and Franz Wright. Tom Waits is a musical constant

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

M.S.: I grew up in in Seattle, in an old farmhouse. It’d been a speakeasy during the Prohibition era and strange things happened to everyone that stayed there.
Nature in the Pacific NW influenced me deeply. I became involved in environmental activism at a young age, which led me to the labor movement.
Nature, ghosts, and activism are definitely recurring topics in my writing.

Apparently Gary Snyder grew up in the same neighborhood. I like to think there’s a rebellious nature spirit there that drops in on kids’ dreams.

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

M.S.: In 2010 I traveled to Wales to meet my penpal. I married him, poor bloke. His belief in me has been invaluable.

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

M.S.: I’ve always had a drive to capture what I witness. Before I owned a camera or started really writing, this desire to capture a moment was like a physical pain.
I knew I had a unique perspective, but I’ve not always been sure how to share it, or if anyone would appreciate it. I’m still not sure, but that doesn’t seem to matter now.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

M.S.: Making art: linocuts, dolls, jewelry, painting. Walking, taking photographs. daydreaming. Sometimes all at once.

(Some pins I made getting a little extra UV curing: Mary MacLane, James Joyce, Linton Kwesi Johnson.)

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

M.S.: I’m currently working on my first poetry collection, and also cooking up a project with Ice Floe Press where I’ll be a guest reader.

My first exhibit, “Permanent Migrant” is now wrapping up here in Butte.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from one of your poem/writings or others?

M.S.:

“Roll rough Yiddish,
like bone dice
against a home’s foundation.”

-from “Red Shadows”, Ice Floe Press, 2020.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

M.S.: I’m indebted to Matthew M C Smith of Black Bough Poetry for his mentorship. Through Matthew I also met Robert Frede Kenter, a gentle, intuitive editor. They’ve both shown me so much kindness. I hope to pay it forward someday

Links:

Bio: M.S. Evans is a visual artist and Pushcart nominated poet living in Butte, Montana. Her work has appeared in Black Bough Poetry, Ice Floe Press, Versification, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Green Ink Poetry, among others.

Twitter: @SeaNettleInk Instagram: @seanettleart

Photography Art by M.S. Evans

3 poems from M.S. Evans from Fevers of the Mind Press Anthology

Twitter: @SeaNettleink

https://icefloepress.net/2020/06/02/butte-america-poems-and-photos-by-m-s-evans/

https://icefloepress.net/pandemic-politics-3-poems/

https://www.blackboughpoetry.com/m-s-evans

https://feralpoetry.net/three-love-poems-by-m-s-evans/

https://www.greeninkpoetry.co.uk/poetry-submissions-all/ms-evans-grief-stones

https://stoneofmadnesspress.com/ms-evans

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