A lifelong Ohioan, Kerry participates in events such
as Artomatic 419 and Back to Jack, and the Columbus Arts Festival. She is a
poetry editor for the online journal Red Fez, and herpoetry
and short fiction have appeared in various anthologies and journals such
as in MidwesternGothic, Alimentum,
Slippery Elm, Third Wednesday, and The Coe Review. Kerry's
chapbook To Have Hoped was published by Finishing Line Press
in 2015. Her chapbook Artifacts, is forthcoming from NightBallet
Press in 2017.
*Could you tell us about yourself as a poet? How long have you been writing
poetry? How does it fit into the rest of your life?
I started writing poetry
in third grade when an OAC grant program brought a visiting poet (I think her
it was Devon McNamara) to our school. I continued writing poetry and fiction,
taking college workshops in both. In college I befriended other poet classmates,
and we gathered to write together, critique each other’s work, and attend open
mics. It was in college that I first started sending things out for
publication. I make time to write as often as I can—daily for some stretches of
time, and only once a week or so during times when work and family life are
particularly busy. I also read as much contemporary poetry as possible, attend
and/or host poetry events, readings, and conferences as often as I can, and I
continue to submit pieces for publication/contests. I’m a poetry editor for the
online journal Red Fez, a member of the Ohio Poetry Association, and I
help maintain the website ToledoPoet.com and the Toledo Poetry Museum page on Facebook—both resources for
connecting NW Ohio poets and promoting events.
*How many of the three years have you used the CCPL prompts?
*Do you know anyone else
who has been writing to them?
I’m not sure, but I’ll
bet Marianna Hofer has used some.
*Are there any of the
prompts that seem to work better for you? that don't work?
prompts—specifying numbers of characters per line, or syllabic patterns—all
give me hives. Formal poems feel too much like homework. And MATH
homework even. Ugh.
I seem to enjoy prompts
addressing certain people, or having to mention certain places or things.
There’s more freedom there, but still a nudge in a specific direction that’s a
good kick in the pants.
*Have you presented any
of the poems in workshops or readings? Have any been published in print? (If
so, can you provide titles and/or which prompts you were writing to?) Have you
gotten any response to those particular poems?
I’ve read several poems
based on the prompts for sure, and I do try to mention so at the time—to give a
shout out to the blog. Though I don’t always remember exactly what the prompt
My poem “Bridges” was
published in Red Fez. It began from one of this year’s prompts about
doing a Google-image search for the word “bridge.” A 2015 prompt to write
about a spice yielded my poem, “Cardamom,” which appeared in the spring 2016
issue of The Fourth River.
Bridges(appeared in Red Fez issue #89, 2016)
My brother moved to San Francisco with a
working fear of bridges.
I’m not afraid to burn bridges that make
kindling of themselves.
San Francisco has 23 miles of bridges.
Sometimes the things we’re afraid of hang
from steel cables.
I’ve never burnt a bridge I regretted
Five died building Toledo’s Glass City
and other killed himself with it.
My friend Donora wrote a book of poems
called Jeff Bridges,
each poem is titled Jeff Bridges.
We tourists gathered on the Tower Bridge
all singing the song inside, imagining
ways of falling down.
Only 26 people survived jumps from
The Golden Gate Bridge, 1,700 instead
Sometimes people cross from one side to
sometimes people cross one another.
My friend Michelle moved to Florida with a
working fear of bridges
Grandpa still made caramel-corn after his
but he never ate it, but he watched us eat
Florida has over 9,000 bridges.
My dad followed the bridge game printed in
the Sunday paper,
crossing-out things, I don’t understand
258 Floridians have leapt from the
Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Bridges can double themselves above still
People can lose themselves into still
Sometimes we watch people cross things out
without understanding why.
Cardamom(appeared in The
Fourth River, 2016)
does it taste like the glow of marigolds
strung along a white wedding tent?
Does it taste like a heel of pulla bread
slipped in my great grandmother’s wool
coat pocket as she boarded a ship
bound eventually for
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Does it taste green?
Or like white blossoms
streaked fuchsia, or like
rhizomes sprung ground-level from
upright sprays of leaves?
Does it taste both warm and cooling,
like a balm for tubercular lungs?
Does it illicit a promise of calm?
As we head into the very end of NaNoWriMo for Poets, we look to a whole last month of poetry events. This Friday Dec. 2nd is the re-opening of the Cleveland State Poetry Center Room, followed by a reading, and on the same day, same time, 4:00 p.m. is the reading and book launch at Judson Park of A 24 Hour Cotillion by Leonard Trawick.
Here are three from 2015 to round out your year/month/week or NaNoWriMo
Nov, 28 - List as many things you can think of that no longer
exist in your world that once did (manual typewriter, push lawnmower,
correction tape, landline, Betsy Wetsy, particular TV shows, characters, windup
alarm clock….) Write a poem about them, titled “Ubi Sunt”
Nov. 29 -Writeyour own prompt for a poem. Now write that
Nov. 30- Choose one of the poems you have drafted this
month and revise it one of these ways: break it into stanzas, or make it all
one stanza; cut every other line; or add a line between each line.
Thanks to all the poets who responded to this retro on prompts! See you next November!