A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Kelly Marie McDonough

Kelly Marie McDonough (@Lunar_lyrics86) | Twitter

with Kelly Marie McDonough:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Kelly: I didn’t really start writing until high school, but I was always a reader.  I spent a lot of time in the school library as a child, and read everything I could get my hands on, especially poetry compilation books.  But my first writing influence was Poe. I distinctly remember reading “The Black Cat” in grade school and learning about how important each descriptive detail was.  It really inspired something in me to pay attention to every word and why they were chosen.  I’ve never forgotten that.

Q

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Kelly: My biggest influence lately has been Anne Sexton.  Her book of poetry “Transformations” has been something that has really spoken to me.  I love fairy tales and how she uses them in the book to tell a story, but also make observations about contemporary society. I also have to mention Shirley Jackson, I am constantly striving to live up to the dark/weird vibe she captures so well in “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”. 

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

Kelly: I grew up in the Midwest, in small towns and the country. Living away from any large cities, things move more slowly here. I think I have taken some of that relaxed feeling into my approach to my work. I like to sit with my work for a while before I really feel it is complete. I have also used the cornfields and rural settings in a few of my poems, like “Virgin” – published by Writenowlit.com Virgin

https://www.writenowlit.com/2020/11/virgin.html?m=1

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

Kelly: Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to travel much. I’ve never been outside of the Midwest- Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana area.  I travel through my writing. 

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

Kelly: I have always wanted a career that had something to do with writing and books.  I never really believed I could be a writer until I went to college.  Then halfway through my education I was diagnosed with cancer.  After going through all the treatment and chemo and surviving, I found some of the things I was scared to do weren’t so scary anymore.  I felt empowered and strong enough to embrace what makes me happy. 

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Kelly: Reading obviously. I also enjoy watching Television shows.  I think I’ve watched every type of murder mystery and true crime program available.  My husband and I also enjoy card games and trivia competitions with our friends.  As well as spending time with my four cats. 

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

Kelly: My website is https://lunarlyrics86.wordpress.com/.  I have more information about myself and my writing there, as well as links to current and upcoming publications. 

Q8: A favorite line from one of your poems/stories?

Kelly:

Some of my favorite lines come from my poem “Attachments”, which is a very personal work to me.  The final lines of the poem are:
You laid the lines
That drew my life. 
I cannot remove or erase you now.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Kelly: Everyone who has taken the time to read my work and give feedback.  I am not too proud to admit I require outside validation.  When I doubt myself, what makes the difference is knowing there is someone out there who has read and understood me through my work.  That keeps me going.

Thank you again for this amazing opportunity and for including me in your publication.  I am honored to be a part of it. 

A bio:

Kelly Marie McDonough is a two-time cancer survivor, avid reader, and makeup enthusiast. She is working on building her poetry portfolio and is influenced by Poe and Anne Sexton. Murder, madness, and literary references are her passion. She is a graduate from Southern New Hampshire University and works customer service for a call center. She lives in Illinois with her supportive husband and their four mischievous cats. Her poetry will be published in the upcoming issues of The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Poetically Mag, The Magazine, WriteNowLit, Mid-Heaven Magazine, and Fevers of the Mind, Unique Poetry.com, and Perennial Press.

Links:

https://www.neurologicalliterarymagazine.com/post/tell-the-bees-kelly-marie-mcdonough

https://www.mid-heavenmagazine.com/the-poetry-cafe/category/Kelly+Marie+McDonough

Poems from Kelly Marie McDonough in Fevers of the Mind Anthologies: “Galaxy Rest” “Radium Girls”

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jack B. Bedell

with Jack B. Bedell

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Jack: I really didn’t start writing until my final semester as an undergraduate at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I scheduled a creative writing course to finish my English requirements, mainly because it was offered at the perfect time and day. Everything I wrote for the class was awful, but my professor was kind enough to pull me out into the hall one day to tell me that no matter how bad my writing had been, there was something in it that showed him it didn’t have to stay that way. He handed me a copy of R.S. Gwynn’s The Drive In and told me to give it a read over the weekend. The poems in that book were all formal poems, very close to poems I had read growing up that way (Wordsworth, Blake, Coleridge, etc.), but many of them told regional family stories. I immediately realized reading Gwynn’s poems that I had been trying to write like William Blake and not myself. After reading that book, I immediately wrote a few family poems about growing up in south Louisiana, and I have stopped doing that since! R.S. Gwynn’s work led to James Dickey, and there’ve been hundreds of poets who’ve shaped me from then on.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Louisiana writers like Darrell Bourque, John Warner Smith, Julie Kane, Brenda Marie Osbey, and many, many others have been tremendous inspirations to me over the course of my career. They’ve shown the way, both in terms of their writing and in terms of the role models they are.


Lately, I owe a tremendous debt to writers like Joan Naviyuk Kane, Carly Joy Miller, and Jericho Brown whose technique and voices push me to keep progressing, to keep pressing the boundaries of what poetry is capable of achieving.

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

Jack:

I feel real pride in being raised in the place I was raised. My goal as a poet has always been to pay tribute to the people and the traditions of south Louisiana, and to honor the memories and the experiences of it all as best I can. I’m as from this place as anyone can be.

I’m incredibly indebted to the people, places, and tradition that have formed me in south Louisiana. The marsh where I was raised, my Acadian heritage, the oil fields and canals that made livelihoods for my family—these are unique to Louisiana. I don’t exist without them. To say I love Louisiana seems trite. It is love to me, actually. Just like family is.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?

Jack: I’m truly a homebody. South Louisiana is my one and only influence in that way. Having said that, though, trips to the Pacific Northwest, Vermont, and Canada have given me tremendous energy and opportunity over the years to write about home!

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

Jack: As long as I can remember, people in my family have told stories. It’s how we passed the time. Even my father, who wasn’t much for talking, told us stories through the dog. These stories, like bible stories, carried for us everything we needed to know to be decent, happy people. I’m not sure listening to those stories growing up made me want to be a poet, but they definitely made me want to be a storyteller. Over the past thirty years or so, I’ve done my best to learn how to tell stories within the confines of poetry.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jack: My life is pretty much centered on family. Anything I can do with my wife and kids—mountain biking, camping, fishing, or just sitting down to have a big meal—really makes my heart smile. That family time actually gives me the bulk of my subject matter!

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

Jack: My two most recent collections, No Brother, This Storm and Color All Maps New, are both out from Mercer University Press:

https://www.mupress.org/Color-All-Maps-New-P1137.aspx

https://www.mupress.org/No-Brother-This-Storm-Poems-P986.aspx

With COVID putting such a damper on in-person readings over the last year and a half, any help spreading the word about these books would be greatly appreciated!

Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?

Jack:

I’m not sure I could choose a favorite line from my own poems. They all fall just short of what I’d hoped they would be. But that’s what keeps me going!

I could give a favorite line from a song, though. It’s from Deftone’s “Back to School”: “Transpose or stop your life.” I really believe in growing, learning, and rolling with life. Like Deftones say, if you’re just going to stay the same, what’s the point?

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jack:

I hope it’s not a cop out to say it, but every writer I’ve worked with has been a tremendous help to me. I’m a real advocate of workshops and retreats. The time spent in those communities is an investment in yourself and your writing. It’s also the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a creative experience with other writers. I never want to stop learning from other writers. I attended the Breadloaf Orion Environmental summer conference a few of years ago, and I’m still running on the energy I picked up there. Everyone involved was generous and present, and that kind of energy is contagious.

I also go down to the New Orleans writing marathon every summer to be part of community of writers and be PRODUCTIVE—it’s fantastic to be with forty or fifty other people working like that, and the whole vibe of the city is fuel for writing. That’s the shift I’ve made in my life. Instead of looking for and paying attention to the things that drain energy, just realizing there’s fuel everywhere for that stuff and it’s made me a better writer. The marathon is tremendous source of this kind of creative energy and vital community.

Bio:

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Cotton Xenomorph, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. His most recent collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.

Links:

http://www.jackbbedell.com/

http://www.ephemerereview.com/jack-b-bedell

http://www.theswampmagazine.com/jack-bedell

https://okaydonkeymag.com/2020/05/11/the-witch-of-maurepas-calls-the-swamp-to-hand-by-jack-bedell/

http://pidgeonholes.com/2019/05/two-poems-24/

https://www.cottonxenomorph.com/journal/2018/6/29/mil-mscaras

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Elisabeth Kelly

with Elisabeth Kelly:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Elisabeth: I started writing when I was about 12 years old. Stories about riding ponies and going on adventures, and then poems full of angst in my teenage years. I had an anthology of women’s poems called Loves Witness, compiled by Jill Hollis that I adored. Poems by Wendy Cope and Louise Gluck stand out from this time, also some D H Lawrence, Jim Morrison from the Doors, probably lots of music generally really, and also finally the wonderful Margaret Atwood.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Elisabeth: I don’t think they have changed much really! I like honest, simple poetry that speaks to me but doesn’t need me to work hard, and doesn’t feel to academic and frighting. Liz Lochhead, Jackie Kay and Wendall Berry are new favourites so probably influence me in some way, and my life, my children and lovely husband.

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

Elisabeth: I grew up on a number of farms mainly, in Lancashire, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders. I think this had probably influenced me greatly, I use a lot of more-than-human-world metaphors in my work and I also visualise my emotions through this world I think. It taught me about details as well, paying attention, and this feeds into my work.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?

Elisabeth: I don’t think they have, apart from helping me understand home is where I want to be. I lived in London, Melbourne and lastly Prague. Prague was an amazing experience but I haven’t really written about it. The others just made me want to find the hills of home!

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

Elisabeth: As long as I remember I always wanted to write. Poetry is new, I never really thought I could! But it fits is wonderfully into my busy life. I don’t have time currently for long pieces, I need to snatch moments here and there and poetry allows me to do that.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Elisabeth: Walking with my family and my dog on the hills of our home. And sitting in my beautiful garden watching the weather coming in.

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

Elisabeth: I find promoting my work tricky. I am not a fan really of too many zooms, I also can’t seem to function later in in the day! I am just exhausted so miss all the Open Mics etc. I must try harder.
You can find most of my stuff on my website www.elisabethkelly.com and my recent Slim at https://hybriddreich.co.uk/product/mind-mathematics-elisabeth-kelly/ and I try and tweet @eekelly22 but have to watch out a bit not to get to sucked down the rabbit hole of social media.

Q8: What is a favorite line or lines from one of your writings/poems?

Elisabeth: “We used to picnic in the rain” as it is in one of the first poems I wrote entitled Sister and it was Shortlisted for the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award 2020 which gave me the confidence to carry on. And because it is about my sister who I rather adore. https://elisabethkelly.com/2020/06/29/anthony-cronin-award/

Q9: Who has helped you most with your writing?

Elisabeth: My husband giving me head space. I have also done a number of great courses and workshops with Nell from Happenstance, Susan Ireland, and Wendy Pratt. They have all helped in some way. Also, the editing skills of Haley Jenkins from Selcouth Station. Lastly, and as importantly I think many of the wonderful, supportive poets I have met on these online courses have helped. It is such a lovely community.

Hedgehog Poetry on Twitter: "I'm really pleased to be able to announce that Elisabeth  Kelly, Kate Young and Mick Yates will be 'sharing' a quite brilliant wee  anthology ' Liberté, égalité, fraternité?'

https://deuxiemepeaupoetry.com/tag/the-hedgehog-poetry-press/

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Robert J.W.

with Robert J.W.

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Robert: I started writing poetry around 2004 when I was 16. It was a great release for the copious amounts of angst I felt at the time. My biggest influences back then were Charles Bukowski, Albert Camus, and Devin Townsend.

Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?

Robert: Probably Henry Rollins or Keith Buckley.

Henryrollins.com

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

Robert: I grew up in Morgantown, WV and still live here. I haven’t traveled much. It’s honestly influenced me more than I used to let on. I write about my experiences a lot.

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

Robert: My poetry collection, Dusty Video Game Cartridges. I put my heart and soul into everything I do but moreso for that one.

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

Robert: Honestly, a video game called Max Payne got me into writing. His poetic and tortured inner monologue really resonated with me back then and I wanted to write similar things.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Robert: Listen to music, play video games, exercise, hang with friends.

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

Robert: I’m working on a collection I think is going to be amazing but I don’t want to give away too much details just yet.

Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?

Robert: From the previous mentioned collection. “We See God in the Progress we make.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Robert: So many people. I’ve gotten sage advice from most of my friends in the writing community. But the one who will help you the most is yourself. Never give up.

Links:

Find Robert on Twitter @RobertJW4688

www.robertjw4688.wordpress.com

Coffee and Antipsychotics eBook by Robert J. W. - 9781370978496 | Rakuten  Kobo United States

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jane Rosenberg LaForge

with Jane Rosenberg LaForge:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Jane: I suppose I started writing in fourth grade, when my class did a magazine project and the teacher noticed that I had something to say. My first influences were probably the poetry my father read to me–Poe, Edward Arlington Robinson, very general American literature. He also read A.E. Houseman to me, “Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff.”

Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?

Jane: That’s hard to say. I studied with Kate Braverman many years ago and she’s still in my head. My favorite writer is usually the one I’m reading right now, and I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Fisk; he’s a journalist who covered the Middle East for many years. He passed away last year.

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

Jane: I grew up in Los Angeles. (My new novel takes place in Los Angeles; that’s a little obvious.) I haven’t lived there for 26 years but I still pine for the place. That homesickness is a huge influence on my work. I am always remembering, trying to recreate, or perhaps capture anew the way the air feels there, the heat, the wind. I miss the sounds of the neighborhood I grew up in, the voices of my grandparents and parents. I miss the dryness, or I should say, the crispness, because the dry thing–drought–isn’t working out too well for everyone. I miss being small and everything looking big to me for a reason–because I was young. Now I’m just small because of my genes.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?

Jane: I traveled to Ireland with my family a few years back and then wrote a novel about an Irish soldier in World War I–does that count? That’s probably the most direct influence travel has had in my work. The absence–or my absence–from home also is huge.

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

Jane: I’ve wanted to be a writer for so long, I don’t think there was any pivotal moment. It’s just always been there

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Jane: Spending time with my husband and daughter; and friends; doting on my cats; reading.

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

Jane:

My newest book of poems is Medusa’s Daughter, a collection about my mother. You can buy it here: https://animalheartpress.net/medusas-daughter/
My new novel is Sisterhood of the Infamous, a story of sibling rivalry, punk rock, and murder. You can buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Sisterhood-Infamous-Jane-Rosenberg-LaForge/dp/1734383534

Medusa's Daughter by Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Q8: One of your favorite lines from a poem of yours?

Jane:

“…and when I speak/my voice leaves me silent.” This is from a poem I’m working on entitled “Girl in a Green Dress.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jane: I’d have to say my husband, because if he wasn’t around to support me emotionally and financially, I wouldn’t be able to write at all.

Links:

https://www.janerosenberglaforge.com/

https://thepoetryquestion.com/2019/12/04/tpq5-jane-rosenberg-laforge/

https://thebrokenspine.co.uk/spotlight-tbsac2-2/

https://longridgereview.com/jane-rosenberg-laforge/