Who are the poets presented here? They are writers who knew when still young, as John Lennon knew and said, “I was always different.” These poets are self-starters and aren’t always looking for approval or fame from others but for ways to keep believing in themselves. They want to succeed but know failure is just one more way to learn. They were very much like young poets everywhere–except these poets persisted. So, go ahead, read what they have to say in these essays and interviews. See what you, too, can enjoy and learn. —Susan Terris, editor, On Becoming a Poet
Dennis Barone, as author or editor, has published twenty-six books including the prose work Second Thoughts (Bordighera Press), the volume of poetry Parallel Lines (Shearsman Books), and the anthology Garnet Poems: An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776 (Wesleyan University Press). He retired from the University of Saint Joseph in 2020 after thirty-four years of teaching. He is currently Poetry Editor for the Wallace Stevens Journal.
Philip F. Clark is the author of The Carnival of Affection [Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017]. He currently teaches at City College, New York, where he received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2017. The Poetry Editor of A&U Magazine, his work has been published in Tampa Review, The Marsh Hawk Press, Tiferet Journal, Lambda Literary, and Vox Populi, among other publications. His poetry website is The Poet’s Grin: https://philipfclark.wordpress.com/
Alfred Corn has published eleven books of poems, two novels and three collections of essays. He received the Guggenheim fellowship, an award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and one from the Academy of American Poets. He taught Creative Writing at Columbia, Yale and UCLA. More information at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Corn
Denise Duhamel’s most recent book of poetry is Second Story (Pittsburgh, 2021). Her other titles include Scald; Blowout; Ka-Ching!; Two and Two; Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems; The Star-Spangled Banner; and Kinky. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Duhamel is a distinguished professor in the MFA program at Florida International University in Miami.
Rafael Jesús González taught Creative Writing & Literature at Laney College, Oakland, California where he founded the Mexican & Latin American Studies Dept. Four times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he was honored by the National Council of Teachers of English for his writing 2003. He received a César Chávez Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 and one from the City of Berkeley 2015. In 2017 he was named Berkeley’s first Poet Laureate. http://rjgonzalez.blogspot.com/
Jane Hirshfield‘s ninth poetry collection is Ledger (Knopf, 2020). She’s also the author of two now-classic books of essays, Nine Gates & Ten Windows. Honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, Academy of American Poets, and NEA, and her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, NY Review of Books, TLS, Poetry, and ten editions of The Best American Poems. A former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she was elected in 2019 into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Burt Kimmelman has published ten collections of poems as well as nine volumes of criticism and over a hundred articles mostly on literature, some on art, architecture and culture. His latest book is Visible at Dusk (Dos Madres Press, 2021), a selection of his essays. Forthcoming is Parapet: New Poems (Marsh Hawk Press, 2022). More about him is available at BurtKimmelman.com.
Basil King, born in London, England in 1935, has been painting for over seven decades and writing since 1985. He does both in Brooklyn where he has lived since 1969. He has published ten books and a dozen chapbooks of poetry and made thousands of art works. Basil King: MIRAGE, a film by Nicole Peyrafitte and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte features his art and text. www.basilking-marthaking.com
David Lehman is the author of One Hundred Autobiographies: A Memoir (Cornell University Press) and The Morning Line (Pittsburgh), his most recent collection of poems. He is the founding and series editor of The Best American Poetry. He also edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry. His book on noir, The Mysterious Romance of Murder, is forthcoming in spring 2022.
Phillip Lopate is the author of over fifteen books (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) and is most known for his essays “Bachelorhood”, “Against Joie de Vivre”, “Portrait of My Body” and his anthology Art of the Personal Essay. He is a professor in the Columbia graduate writing program, and lives in Brooklyn.
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of a Red Mountain Press Award for Shadow Light. Other recent publications are a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (University of Nebraska Press; Wing (Red Mountain); Casino Bestiary (Spartan); and Jackalope (Red Mountain, fiction). She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. She lives in California’s Sonoma County, homeland of Pomo people. www.deniselow.net
Mary Mackey, New York Times best-selling author, became a poet by running high fevers, tramping through tropical jungles, being caught in volcanic eruptions, swarmed by army ants, threatened by poisonous snakes, and reading. She is the author of 14 novels and 8 collections of poetry including The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams, winner of the 2019 Eric Hoffer Award for the best book published by a small press. https:marymackey.com
Jason McCall holds an MFA from the University of Miami. His collections include Silver; I Can Explain; Dear Hero,; Mother, Less Child; Two-Face God; A Man Ain’t Nothin’; and What Shot Did You Ever Take (co-authored with Brian Oliu). He and P.J. Williams are the editors of It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop. He is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, and he teaches at the University of North Alabama.
Sandy McIntosh is publisher of Marsh Hawk Press. His recent memoirs, A Hole in the Ocean: A Hamptons’ Apprenticeship and Lesser Lights: More Tales from a Hamptons’ Apprenticeship feature stories of the writers and artists of Long Island’s Hamptons who were his mentors. He has published fifteen collections of poetry and prose as well as three award-winning computer software programs. His filmscript won the Silver Medl in the Film Festival of the Americas.
Indigo Moor is Poet Laureate Emeritus of Sacramento. His fourth book of poetry, Everybody’s Jonesin’ for Something, took second place in the University of Nebraska Press’ Backwater Prize. Through the Stonecutter’s Window, won Northwestern University Press’s Cave Canem prize. His books, Tap-Root and In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, were both parts of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Select Poetry Series. Indigo is on the visiting faculty for Dominican’s MFA program.
Sheila E. Murphy’s recent books: Golden Milk (Luna Bisonte Prods); As If to Tempt the Diatonic Marvel from the Ivory (Broken Sleep); Reporting Live from You Know Where (Meritage, i.e.,and xPress(ed), winner: Hay(na)ku Book Award. She’s the author of 44 books of poetry and multiple chapbooks. Her book Letters to Unfinished J. won the Gertrude Stein Award (Green Integer Press). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Hanging Loose, and Passages North. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Murphy.
Jim Natal, interviewer, is the author of three books of lyric poems: Memory and Rain, Talking Back to the Rocks, and In the Bee Trees, as well as two collections written in contemporary haibun form—52 Views: The Haibun Variations and Spare Room. A multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee, literary presenter, and co-founder of indie publishing house Conflux Press, his work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. For Chapter One, he interviewed Arthur Sze.
Gail Newman, former SF Coordinator for CalPoets and educator at the SF Contemporary Jewish Museum, edited Room, a Women’s Literary Journal and two anthologies of children’s poems: C is for California and Dear Earth. Publications include Nimrod International, Prairie Schooner, Ghosts of the Holocaust and The Bellingham Review. Blood Memory, her second collection, chosen by Marge Piercy for the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize, won the 2020 NCPA Gold Award for Poetry. www.gailnewmanpoet.com
Geoffrey O’Brien is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently The Blue Hill (Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize, 2018) and Who Goes There (Dos Madres Press, 2020). His eleven prose books encompassing memoir and cultural history include Dream Time: Chapters from the Sixties, The Phantom Empire, The Browser’s Ecstasy, Sonata for Jukebox, and Where Did Poetry Come From: Some Early Encounters. He lives in Brooklyn.
Kim Shuck is a poet, educator, and troublemaker from San Francisco. Shuck is the solo author of eight books of poetry and prose. She is editor, assistant editor or co-editor of ten collections of poetry. Her awards include a PEN Oakland Censorship award, a Northern California Book Award for being a groundbreaker, and an American Academy of Poets National Laureate Fellowship. Kim’s latest book is Exile Heart from That Painted Horse Press.
Stephanie Strickland’s ten books of poetry include How the Universe Is Made: Poems New & Selected (2019) and Ringing the Changes (2020), a code-generated project for print based on the ancient art of tower bell-ringing. Other books include Dragon Logic, True North, and The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil. She has also published 12 collaborative digital poems, most recently Liberty Ring! (2020). www.stephaniestrickland.com
Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. His eleventh book of poetry is The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon, 2021). Previous books include Sight Lines, which won the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry, Compass Rose, and The Ginkgo Light. He has also published The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese. A professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, he lives in Santa Fe.
Eileen R. Tabios has released over 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in 10 countries and cyberspace. In 2021, she released her first novel DoveLion: A Fairy Tale for Our Times. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form, and the MDR Poetry Generator that can create poems totaling theoretical infinity. More information is at http://eileenrtabios.com
Susan Terris (Editor) is a freelance editor and the author of 7 books of poetry, 17 chapbooks, 3 artist’s books, and 2 plays. Journals include Air/Light, The Southern Review, Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, and Ploughshares. She has had poems published both in Pushcart Prize and in Best American Poetry. Her most recent book Dream Fragments won the Swan Scythe Press Award. www.susanterris.com
Lynne Thompson is the 2021-22 Los Angeles Poet Laureate. The author of three books of poetry, Thompson’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, New England Review, Colorado Review, Pleiades, and Best American Poetry, among others. Her latest poetry collection, Fretwork, was selected by Jane Hirshfield for the Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize. She sits on the Boards of Directors of Cave Canem and Los Angeles Review of Books.
Tony Trigilio’s recent books of poetry are Proof Something Happened (Marsh Hawk), Ghosts of the Upper Floor (BlazeVOX), and White Noise (Apostrophe). His selected poems, Fuera del Taller del Cosmos, was published in Guatemala by Editorial Poe (translated by Bony Hernández). He co-edits the poetry journal Court Green, and is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. www.starve.org
Julie Marie Wade is the author of 13 collections of poetry, prose, and hybrid forms, most recently Skirted: Poems and Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing. With Denise Duhamel, she authored The Unrhymables: Collaborations in Prose, and with Brenda Miller, Telephone: Essays in Two Voices. Wade teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University and makes her home in Dania Beach with Angie Griffin and their two cats.