Author Susie Clevenger #interview

Please give a warm welcome to poet/author Susie Clevenger

Tell us a bit about yourself

Goodness, I’m not sure where to start. I’m an author, poet, writer, amateur photographer, and a music junkie. My husband and I have a lot of friends who are musicians so we spend as much time as we can attending live music performances, even if it means we need to do some serious traveling to get to one.I also have a deep nature connection. I grew up in a small house surrounded by woods and lived most of my life outdoors. I learned the beauty of solitude, observation, listening, and the wonder of wildlife. In many ways it’s those early experiences that keeps me grounded now when life gets tough.

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Have you always wanted to become an author?

When I was a teenager, I thought about it, picked up the idea again in my late twenties, but I didn’t publish my first book until age 61. Ironically it was a car accident in 2006 where I suffered brain damage that brought me back to poetry, and serious consideration of writing a book. I entered an intersection on a bright sunny day as one person and was changed in seconds. A lot of me was/is still present, but memory gaps, personality changes, and ADD became the soup I’m forced to live in. Thank goodness I have a husband who has and continues to love me through all of it. As part of my self-rehabilitation I began writing poetry in 2009. All things writing blossomed from that point.

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What was your inspiration for your current book?

Ben Ditmars presented me with the idea of co-writing a poetry book that focused on how the experiences of our youth formed a foundation for who we are now. Our book Splinters is a bit humor, a bit survival, and a bit sarcastic. Our hope was/is when people read it, they realize some splinters go deep, but they don’t have to live in their wounds.

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What are you working on now?

I’m going back and forth with what I want to do. I am considering an anthology of poems taken from my blog, Black Ink Howl, as well as including new poetry. My tag line under the blog title speaks my reason for creating the blog, “Venting the Orwellian Hand Maid’s Tale Psychotic of the current American Dream”. Also, I am tossing around the idea of turning my Twila series poems into a book. She is a thirteen-year-old who lives along the Atchafalaya river in Louisiana. Her generational gift of spirituality is a sort of dark coming of age story. This is a quote from one of the poems in the series, Night of River Bones,” The moon won’t come near the river when the Wailers rattle their spines against the cattails.”

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Do you have any quirks while writing?

I can’t write if there is any human noise, like talking, television, music with lyrics, etc. I need to be secluded in my tiny claustrophobic corner of a bedroom. I usually light incense, open the window shade (day or night), and sit down to a desk my father built. Oh, and on the right side of the desk is always a pile of poetry books.

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What are your hopes for the future?

I could go off on religion and politics, but that is a dead-end history always reaches. I hope we humans wake up, stop destroying life, and learn war never brings peace.

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Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

It is a tough place to get a shoulder in. Dreams take hard work, but there is no expiration date. Believe in yourself. Always be willing to learn, appreciate critique, and keep a light on when those rejection letters roll in from publishers. If you choose to self-publish, there is a huge family in Independent publishing who are willing to help guide you through the process.

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Do you have anything to say to your readers?

I appreciate everyone who reads my work. You are such a blessing to me, such a well of encouragement. I don’t know where I would be on this journey without you. Thank you so much.

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Poem: Night of River Bones

Buy links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

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Author links

Blog

Twitter

Website

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Instagram

Facebook Poetry

Facebook Photography

Author & Poet Ben Ditmars #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author and poet Ben Ditmars

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Tell us a bit about yourself

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Ah, the million-dollar question. Which is good, because I could really use a million dollars. I am an author and poet, currently working in bookkeeping and accounting. This ties into my latest collection Number Poetry – all about the hidden rhythm of the written word. But when I’m not writing or counting beans, I enjoy exploring local history and traveling. I found a bar near my parent’s house where Al Capone used to relax. Pretty cool, eh?

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Have you always wanted to become an poet/author?

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I’ve always wanted to be heard. But I’m shy around strangers. Writing helps me decipher my thoughts and communicate better.

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What was your inspiration for the writing?

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I find inspiration everywhere. The sky, the trees, stars in space – a lot with the stars in space. Science in general makes me think and ask questions. It’s a good conduit for metaphors. So is romance. My favorite poems from other poets are romantic ones – borderline erotic. Sex is liberating as an art form. And probably other ways too.

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Do you have any quirks while writing?

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OCD. Lots of OCD. I can agonize over a single word or piece of punctuation for hours. It’s slightly more muted writing for publications, because I can take time. But if it’s for the internet, you’re naked when it’s posted. There’s an urgency, exhilaration and fear that goes with it. But it also helps you find what works and resonates with an audience.

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Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

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Research the publishing and business world. Go to author events and see how they promote and interact. Watch Mad Men. Read as much as possible of the genre you intend to write. Think of who your audience will be and what you can give them they don’t have.

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What are you working on now?

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I’m working on quite a few things. A book of romantic haiku, a haiku novella and fantasy adventure, and a young-adult collection with various life lessons. It should be a real hoot.

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What are your hopes for the future?

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I would love to keep expanding and reaching new audiences. That’s my biggest struggle is growing the ranks of people who read poetry. Partly, I’ve been doing this through posting on Instagram, or the Gram as hip Gen-Y kids call it. Or it Gen Z? I’m too much of a Millennial to actually remember.

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Do you have anything to say to your fans?

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Yes, as a matter of fact. I appreciate you staying with me through these weird ideas I have. I could be living under a bridge shouting haiku, but you like my posts and buy books so I don’t have to.

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Buy links

Amazon

Author links

Twitter

Website

Amazon

Facebook

Instagram

*Death and the Maiden* #poetry

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His mahogany voice

Full of whiskey
Whispered promises
Of nebulous deeds
Star shattered feelings
In the obscure part
Of my opaque spirit
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Revelry ruptures my placid Hart
Benevolence flees my body
In search of pleasurable pain
To alleviate the empty space
Left in my dying imagination
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Oh how sweet the memory
Of sublime creation
My milky way of artistry
Leaves me with tears of starlight
Filling the river Styx

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On my deathbed
His whispers
Destroy and rebuild me
Fortifying my eternal devotion
To his purpose
To his very essence
The other half of my soul

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©Helle Gade 2018

Wolfe Words #poetry

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You’re a wolf
In sheep clothing
Spouting pretty words
Utter nonsense
Flowery prose
Lies in disguise

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You think me
fooled
Laughing
behind my back
Telling tales
of my ignorance

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But be warned
I know you tricks
There will be no pardon
I will purge you
From my body
And certainly my mind

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©

Helle Gade 2018