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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday's Meet the Poet

Meet the Poet on Wednesdays!
                Greetings! Welcome to this wonderful Wednesday at Jingle Poetry. Every week Lovely Annie and Tracy Harris will be offering the chance to brush shoulders with the elite, the powerful, and overwhelmingly gorgeous at Meet the Poet.  We will be interviewing a different poet every week.
This week, I, your gracious host, Tracy H, have been blessed with the opportunity to offer all of you guys a more personal introduction to one of my (and I'm sure one of yours also) favorite poets. She is a fantastically talented writer of some of the most beautiful poems you'll ever read, and on top of that, she is one of the kindest members of our community. I had the privilege to have a nice long chat with her on the phone (we made it 90 minutes) until her phone died...I think we killed it LOL. She is a very nice, down-to-earth person, and we found we have much of the same views on poetry, and Canada Geese. I have been a fan since the first time I read her work, and if you haven't had that chance yet, I'm sure you'll feel the same when you go to her blog and read....

Let us begin...

Tracy: Will you tell us a little about yourself?

bkm: Myself...well, I am really an average person, living in Northern California for over 30 years now which I have finally come to call home.  I was born in Chicago, and at age 9, my father moved us all to a farm in Minnesota.  I have been married, divorced and remarried.  I have two children, one daughter, one son both grown and doing well. 
 Worked in a large bureaucracy for 30 years, and currently am working part time in a job that is more fun than work.  I have been an avid reader of non-fiction for years; philosophy, world religions, science, history and more.   Have been drawn to very few novels, but to their authors, that is another story.  Biography was my first love, and analysis of why people became who they did has always fascinated me. 

Tracy: Please tell us about your blog, and what it means to you.

bkm: My blog - Signed....bkm, well, it is a relatively new blog, but is not the one I originally started with.  I have been blogging since April 2008 with a blog that I originally structured as an open forum for spiritual essay on our calling to creativity.  It began as short essay and positive thinking, but soon turned fully focused on poetry. I realized then that writing is what fueled my inner soul, and earlier this year decided it was time to start fresh with a blog focusing on poetry. 
The title was a given...on the other site I signed everything, bkmackenzie ( b for barbara , k  for my maiden name and m for my married name), these initials also mirror my husband's who is my dearest friend.  So, Signed...bkm it became.
What the blog has become and is, is an outlet for inner thoughts and creativity.  I have had people say, you just put your writing out there, what about publishing?  Well, I fully understand how hard it is to have your work published, and would rather have it read.  Not only does that challenge me to do better, it challenges me to read, and learn, and accept, both negative or positive feedback.  I again get to learn, and to grow as a person.

Tracy: Can you remember writing your first poem? Can you tell us a little about it?

bkm: Yes, I can..it was in 7th grade that I remember writing on on paper, I have no idea what it was about, probably about something in nature or a children's poem.  What I do remember very well is, that I asked a girlfriend to read it; she did, and replied, "It is not very good,” and I did not write, or at least show anyone my poetry, for years.  But, Tracy, I am a believer that everything has a time and place, and  in 7th grade I was not ready then to write, there was so much more I had to learn.

Tracy: What I have read of your work seems to be a type of free form for the most part. It's always so well done, and you are a master of metaphor. I ALWAYS have to read you poems 2 or 3 times at least, either to understand them better, or because they are just so danged good. Will you give us some insight into your style of writing, or the style/form you prefer?

bkm: My style and form is mostly free form as you stated.  I have never had formal training, but I know what I like and what sends me back for more in other poets.  I love subtle rhyme - unstructured, though sometimes I do have a piece with structure, but have never composed a sonnet let's say; though I have tried, my mind seems to wonder and say No..do not do that.   The metaphor seems to come natural and that is where the years of reading and self study comes in, here the metaphor floats from one subject to another, and finds itself a happy marriage in poetry.   Also on form I seem to write the structure as it comes to me, then I go back and reread it again and again, changing it almost each time until it sounds right.  Because I write like this does not mean I do not like reading formally structured pieces.  When I was young I fell in love with Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets and still love them.
I love poetry that makes you think; I want to have entrance into the writer's mind, but I do not want a free ride, I want to analyze my way there.  I also use this same formula in writing, I want the reader to think.  
Tracy: Well, one thing that stands out about your poems to me is...they certainly make one think through them.

Tracy: Are there any styles of poetry you find difficult or annoying, and why?

bkm: I am so glad you asked this question, because I really have learned here in blog-land, that there are many different types of poets.  There are poets who write with both sight and sound as a part of their art form, also shapes, colored letters and music, and this is where their brain finds comfort. My brain, however, is mainly auditory, so sound and color pulls my thoughts away from focusing; it seems it cannot handle all the stimulation at once.  I want to read the words...to me the words should paint the picture, the words should color the piece and give it music, and when there is too much, I almost have to leave as quickly as possible because it becomes painful. 
The other type of poetry that seems to bother me is poetry that is too dark, or too violent, and some writers seem to focus on this format.  Not that I am blind to it and its existence, but I believe the mind will take you where you tell it to go, so I have a tendency to avoid that type of writing in excess.

Tracy: Do you write more than just poetry?

bkm: I have written, as I have stated earlier, short essay.  I have tried writing short story, and thought of writing a book, but have had little patience for it.  Poetry for me is natural; to me, good poetry is a novel written on one page.
Tracy: I love that take on poetry...”a novel written on one page,” fantastic.

Tracy: What poem, written by you, do you like the most, and why?

bkm: There are various poems that I really like, however, there is one that I wrote in 2008 that I like, not because I feel it is my best, but because it really coves the various aspects that make up the person that I call myself.  
 It is called: The Night's Wings
I left Walden Pond
and met you near the wood
you stood between
the moss and morning
in the shadow of the crest

there was a moment
one moment
where I could sense
more than I could see
my vision altered

by the pure completeness
I felt in loving thee
what sense- this sensibility?
worth a mere mortals thought-

if timelessness
not past through
with life’s full measure
left unsought

most travelers find no rest –
on such a road
without formal bedding
said I to the Raven –
Call the night,
and this forest becomes my heaven.”

copyrighted 2008

Tracy: Do you have a favorite poet? 

bkm: I have said all my favorite poets begin with the letter "E"  (Edna, Elizabeth, Edgar)  however out of all those "E's," Emily Dickinson has to be number one for many reasons.  She wrote so much, so deep, with so few words, all so ahead of her time; the world was not ready for her.  I personally have to believe that she fulfilled her purpose on this planet by writing, and methodically wrapping and tying up those poems, for the world to read when it was ready to hear them.  
This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me” Emily Dickinson

Tracy: Do you have any mentors? 

bkm: Mentors...Tracy, that is another good one.  I have never had a human mentor - now you have to think, well, where is she going with that?  I consider nature my mentor.  I was blessed at being raised on a 200 acre farm, surrounded by the Minnesota woods.  I was the oldest girl in a family of six children raised without a mother, so I claim the woods as my mother, and she became my greatest mentor.  She nursed me, calmed me, and talked to me; she handed me an imagination that no human could ever do.
Tracy: Wow! You have just given new meaning to “Mother Earth.” :)

Tracy: Do you have a favorite place to write? Are there certain emotions that inspire or trigger writing?

bkm: At home on my laptop, usually sitting on the couch, often first thing in the morning, but that is not always the case.  If something comes, and I have the laptop close, that is when I write.  Triggers are many and various, from reading about someone, music,  to picking up leaves.  Once I was literally stumped on a weekly prompt I write for; could not sleep thinking about what I should write, then one night I walked in the front door at about 10:30 pm, after a meeting, and in walking in, the first line came; I went to my computer, sat in the dark, and the rest just came.  Most of the time the first line comes, and if there is more, it quickly follows.


Tracy: What is your favorite type of music?

bkm: I love just about every type of music from Gregorian Chant to Bluegrass.  But let me tell you that my son was given the middle name Marshall, after the Marshall Tucker Band, that should give you and idea of the type of music this stirs my blood.

Tracy: Groovy! I can relate to some MTB...I heard it in a Love Poem, can't be wrong ;)

Tracy: What's your favorite book?

bkm: I am going to to go with Gibran's - The Prophet

Tracy: Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you, your life or writing?

bkm: For Life:
 " We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us."   Joseph Campbell Tracy: Nice!

Tracy: Do you have any other creative passions? 

bkm: I have other creative hobbies, like quilting, and I have other passions, like for Indy and Formula One racing, or reading.  However, writing poetry is the only creative passion I have that can take my focus away from just about anything else, or keep me awake at night.

Tracy: If you could have dinner with any famous deceased person, who would it be, and where would you dine?

bkm: It would have to be Joseph Campbell and where would have to a quiet restaurant high above a major city at night so when he spoke of mythology and humanity he could point down on the lights of the city I could hear him say "See look, we live in the center of the myth."

Tracy: This is my own addition to the questionnaire...If you will, tell me one of your favorite foods and a favorite movie.

bkm: Favorite food -  Lasagna
Favorite movie - Out of Africa
Tracy: I can agree with you there...An excellent dinner and movie!

Tracy: Oh, yes, just three more simple questions...If you had your own band...

What would it be called? 

bkm: Badlands

What would be the title of the first album?

bkm: Riding Shotgun

What would the title of the first single be?

bkm: Dueling with the Darkside

There you have it folks; you have had a look into what makes another one of our finest poets tick. bkm is as good as they get, and she is a joy to get to know. I enjoyed every moment of correspondence and conversation with her while conducting this interview. I know if you get half as much out of it as I did, you'll become a loyal fan of bkm. I trust you'll each visit my friend's blog at Signed...bkm.

Thank you, Barbara, for your indulgence and kindness to me throughout this process, it was, indeed, my pleasure to get to know you.


Tracy H

Be sure and tune in next week as Annie brings us another wonderful and interesting edition of  Wednesday's Meet the Poet


Jingle Poetry said...

I love bkm and her poetry,
this makes me smile, BIG Time!

Jingle Poetry said...

It is Jingle who write the previous comment..
Thanks a lot, Tracy, 4 letting us know and learn about bkm.

flaubert said...

Great interview! I loved getting to know more of you Barbara.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, you really made my day!
I just knew this was going to be a great interview as soon as I read "farm in Minnesota".
Well done again,Tracy!

Anonymous said...

thanks tracy for highlighting this splendid poet.

i am a big fan of his poetry. he is an awesome poet. i can never have enough of his poems.


SuziCate said...

Fabulous interview!

Tina said...

I'm so glad you featured bkm. I've been her fan since the first piece of hers that I read. She is truly amazing. Thanks for letting us get to know her better!

She said...

glad to learn some more about you bkm...just happened by this blog today and so happy I did!

LeiffyV said...

I usually don't read interviews but this was a good read. Down to earth person with powerful spiritual roots. Good to know quality people are here and ready to make their offerings!

Rashmi said...

Nice interview..Your poems are really beautiful bkm.
Thanks Tracy for the interview...

Amanda said...

Amazing interview with someone I admire and respect so very much. You truly are an inspiration to so many and I'm just thrilled to get to know more about you Barbara. You have outdone yourself once more Tracy...thanks for this very interesting interview. oxo

Anonymous said...

thanks tracy for letting me know that BKM is a lady. I used to think she is a guy.

In india BKM abbr will certainly mean a man- three character abbr i mean.

lots of love

Ellen aka Ella said...

Great interview Tracy n' Barbara~
Very insightful; I could relate to so much! Thank you~

Dave King said...

That was straight out of the top drawer, fascinating from beginning to end with a great deal that will linger. Congratulations both!

ninotaziz said...

Loved getting to know bkm better here. She is quite a gem. Great job Tracy!

JamieDedes said...

I started into this three time and all three times I got interupted. So it's almost 1 a.m. here and thought I'd finally get to read the whole thing with no interuptions. Hooray!

Tracy, I appreciate this selection of poet and the questions asked. Thank you!

bkm: Nice to meet another blogger-poet who was facinated with poetry early on. I think it's a defining life experience.

I agree with you - and so did the writer, Pearl Buck, by the way - that poetry can tell the story a novel does. I just trashed a novel when I found that I'd written a poem that made the point and told the story better and more effectively than the novel.

Appreciate your poem here and your site and other responses to the questions. Thank you! Poem on ...

signed...bkm said...

Just want to say a Big Thank You to everyone for your wonderful comments...it has been a Great Pleasure meeting, communicating with and reading the diverse poetry here at Jingle Poetry....bkm

Anonymous said...

So nice to get to know you BKM yay!!! I love this poetry community...Tracy great interview!!!

Jingles said...

Great efforts, i am sure this creation can lead you to the success, keep us update.

Jingles said...

Great efforts, i am sure this creation can lead you to the success, keep us update.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who came and read this interview. bkm was a joy to interview and get to know, she is a jewel in our community. It was truly my pleasure to do this edition of Meet the Poet.