Lorna Dee Answers Questions From A Student
On Apr 4, 2011, at 7:49 PM, A. M. wrote:
Hello, my name is A. M. We were suppose to pick a poet that we enjoyed reading their poetry and I found your poetry really interesting and enjoyed reading it a lot. I was wondering if you could answer a few of my questions for the report.
What inspires you to write?
The Muse. She has a mind of her own. It's like love, you never know who nor what it will be next. Otherwise, the universe propels me. I just listen, and pay attention--with a pen.
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first poem in the bathtub to the tune of Greensleaves when I was eight years old. I wrote daily for years from the time I was in Jr. High.
What style of poetry is your favorite to read? To write?
Ha, good poetry. Like people, every poem is different. I look at style as strategy. I actually write in a variety of styles & teach that way, too. I read as much and as widely as I can. I spent decades reading nothing but poetry. Pablo Neruda has sustained me through the years since first discovering him at about age 13. I need different poets at different times for different things. I once had an anthology of Socialist poetry when I was very young, all of my favorite poets were in it. Now, I would say the "poetry of witness." Carolyn Forché has a great anthology, AGAINST FORGETTING, that is just that.
What other hobbies do you have?
Beadwork, gardening, hiking, biking, cooking. I don't do enough of the first four; hopefully when I settle down again. Although not really a hobby, I like to work jigsaw puzzles for relaxation. When I was kid, it seemed the only part of my world I could put into any kind of order.
What got you started writing?
(See previous answer.) My older brother's influence. He's a musician and very improvisational. He wrote stories and poems. I thought poems were songs for people with bad voices. My mother, too, would read poets out loud and play records of poetry: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edgar Allen Poe, Kahlil Gibran & Robert Frost were her favorites, especially Kahlil Gibran. I always say that I really can't remember a time when poetry wasn't at the center of my life.
Do you write for pleasure or for work?
My pleasure is my work & I work at poetry for pleasure. It's like being a nun or a priest, it's a calling, an avocation and not just a vocation. It's for Spirit.
What's your favorite location to write?
Outside. Now that I don't have a garden, in bed. But when a poem wants to get written, it doesn't matter where I am or what's going on around me.
If you could email me back your answer's that would be amazing and I would greatly appreciate it. If you can tell me anything else about yourself it would be great. I'd love to learn more about you and your poetry. Thank you for your time.
You caught me at a good time. I'm traveling, preparing for a reading tomorrow at UC Riverside. I have another blog besides my main one where I answer these kind of questions from students at all levels. It's at http://lornadcervantes.blogspot.com. My main blog is at http://lornadice.blogspot.com which you can search for all kinds of things. I've been away from both due to some technical difficulties signing on, but I'm back now. I'd like to post these questions and answers at the first one. I won't post your name unless you want me to. It's a good source for FAQ.
Where do you go to school?
I'm also on Facebook, and once answered some questions from high school students there. As soon as I find them, I'll post them on this blog.
Lorna Dee Cervantes
P.S. I have a project right now, a book, where I'm writing 100 Love Poems to Strangers: for $10+ I'll write you a love poem, to you or yours.