Interview with Mike
The Passions forums are a gathering place for poets the world over.
Poets of romance, of darkness, of humor, of philosophy, of light. Young writers, older
writers and all in between, we each share that of ourselves by which we so creatively
express our notions about the world and our place within it.
|Meadowmuse: I know
you live in Kansas... are you a native? Is there anything you would feel comfortable
sharing about yourself in regards to your family and heritage?
Mike: I am a native Kansan approaching the dreaded age of 50. I have been married for 29 years and have four children; one in medical school and three in college. As some are aware, I am a small town prosecutor, having been so for over twenty years.
Meadowmuse: When do you find time to write?
Mike: When I started writing, I attempted to write at least one poem every evening as I unwound from the day. I find writing poetry to be a tension reliever and it frees my mind of my daily work-life. I will often write a poem as I lay in bed before falling asleep. I will go over the poem in my mind until I feel it is right, then put it down on paper later.
Meadowmuse: How do your family, friends, and colleagues react to your poetry?
Mike: Very few people in real life are aware of my attempts at poetry. Those who read one of my poems often question whether I am the author. The persona of a prosecutor and poet seem not to be viewed in the same light by the general public.
Meadowmuse: Who were your early influences in poetry? Or in literature, in general, for that matter?
Mike: Growing up, academics and literary pursuits were not a prime interest. I read a lot, but generally science fiction, and westerns. My only contact with poetry would have been in English class in school. English was not a favorite or particularly strong subject of mine. As far as early influences, embarrassingly enough, I had minimal poetic contacts... and while I read a lot, it was not what would be considered literary classics.
Meadowmuse: Do you recall when you first became aware of your interest in poetry, and when did you begin writing it ?
Mike: My first real interest in poetry did not come about until approximately two years ago. A friend's mother passed away and I was making a card for her and wrote a short poem. That initial foray into the poetic world piqued my interest. After a few attempts, I decided to see if I was capable of writing poetry and began surfing poetry sites to read, mainly focusing on established historical poets. About the same time, we connected to the Internet and I stumbled on Passions.
Meadowmuse: Do you share what you write with folks in your "real" world, or mostly on the Internet?
Mike: I share my poetry with a few people at work, and occasionally with my family. Most of my poetry is viewed only by those in Passions.
Meadowmuse: Do you have a favorite poem that you've written?
Mike: Yes, Seasons of the Kaw.
Meadowmuse: Why is this one your favorite?
Mike: Nature has always been a reoccurring theme in my poetry. I tried to express the beauty of my home state as it transforms through the seasons, and to some degree, at least to myself, I was able to do so in "Seasons."
Meadowmuse: I've noticed that your poems concern themselves a lot with love and nature, and the parallels and relationship between the two. What do you find the most inspiring about these two entities that speaks to you poetically?
Mike: Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed being by myself out in nature, and particularly under a star-filled sky. My poetry is an attempt to experience the feeling I get when I am experiencing the grandeur of nature. The purity and soothing calm of nature lends itself to romance. How could anything be more romantic than a stroll in countryside beneath a Harvest moon?
Meadowmuse: Whose work would you say has most influenced your own style of writing?
Mike: As might be expected, I enjoy the traditional poets, and enjoy Shakespeare's sonnets. I enjoy Robert Frost, Lord Byron and Ogden Nash which might explain my nature, romance, and slightly off-beat humor poetry. I don't know that I follow any particular style. I have had several people ask me what type of poem I submitted, to which I would honestly have to reply, I do not know most of the time. I write by reading the poem out loud in my head and try to obtain a rhythm and sound that is pleasing to the ear. I do try to write sonnets occasionally and stay according to format.
Meadowmuse: You said that Passions, so far, has been the only place online that your work has been shared. Would you consider submitting work to any other online venues?
Mike: I have really never given much thought to submitting to other sites. I have been asked to on occasion but have always declined. I have allowed two people to post a poem on their personal web pages because of the personal nature of the poem. I consider myself a beginning novice and haven't had the fortitude to venture beyond Passions.
Meadowmuse: Whether a "novice" or professional, you are certainly a wonderful writer. I find your work eloquent and inspiring. There have been several times when a poem that you have written and shared at Passions has inspired me to write a poem of my own, and I would like to thank you for that. Do you agree that as writers, we can all learn from one another?
Mike: One of the strengths of Passions is the interaction of the varied poets and their writing styles. I came to Passions to attempt to learn to write poetry. Any strides I have made towards achieving that goal have been greatly assisted by reading and learning from the works of the many fine poets in Passions.
Meadowmuse: What advice or insight would you offer to a poet who wants to express himself or herself on the Internet and is just getting started?
Mike: Go for it. My suggestion, albeit a cliché, is to be true to yourself. No question that reading the works of others will be of great benefit. However, it is your poetry and an expression of your own being. Do not write to please others, but to please yourself. Try various styles and experiment and do not worry about what others think of your poetry, but listen to any advice given. Take your work seriously and write... write....write....