5 Questions with Kathleen Grabe

Kathleen will be reading a selection from her poems. The reading will be held on October 18, 2013 at 7:30pm as part of the NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase.Kathleen Graber

The reading will take place at The Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences
120 Long Beach Blvd.
Loveladies, NJ 08008
Click here for directions

There is a suggested donation of $10. All tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the readings. No advanced ticket sales.

1. Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?
I try to always be open to inspiration, but, if the truth be told, I rarely feel inspired.  If I waited to be inspired to write a poem, none of my poems would ever come into being.  That said, when I sit down to write, I usually begin by trying to describe something that happened to me recently or something that I saw that has stuck in my mind.  I trust that if something has stuck, it has stuck for a reason.  If nothing has stuck, I pick up a book and read until I have an idea.  When I catch myself thinking, I start to write.

2. You teach Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. What do you hope your students will take away from your class?
For the most part, I teach poetry workshops, and in that context I hope that students come away better equipped to make new drafts and to improve the drafts they have already written.  I like to think that my job is simply to provide tools:  If someone has only ever used a hammer, I might say, “You are very good at building things.  Have you ever trying to take something apart?  Here is a saw.  Here is crowbar.  Give them a try.”

3. At what age did you write your first poem and what was it about? 
I was in my middle thirties when I began to try to write poems.  I don’t remember much about the earliest poems, but the first poem that I wrote that actually seemed to work was about a turtle I found one morning on the playground of the elementary school where I taught.  When I was a teenager, I wrote rhymed love poems.  Didn’t everyone?

4. You were an Amy Lowell Traveling Scholar. The annual scholarship is to support travel abroad for gifted American-born poets. Where did you travel and what did your experience teach you?
For a variety of reasons, I traveled quite widely and nomadically around Europe.  I spent significant time in the southwestern part of England and also in Malta.  My experience taught me that I can live for a year on what I can fit in a suitcase, including knives, a pan, a cutting board, and a coffee pot.  I learned that I don’t really have to speak to be understood. I learned that it is quite easy to survive with only limited heat and hot water.  I learned one doesn’t have to be able to drink the tap water to be reasonably happy.  I learned to deeply appreciate what we think of as very basic necessities: a roof, for instance.  Good plumbing.

5. The picture you sent us has a dog in it. What is your pup’s name and what are your favorite activities that the two of you do?
My dog is named Patrick, He is a rescue dog and he already knew his name when he came into my life.  Patrick likes to go to the beach, but he doesn’t like the water.  He really likes to go for long walks around town and in the park.  He also loves to sniff and chew his bones.  I cannot say we do the last of these things ‘together,’ but I provide him with the right opportunities.

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To learn more about Kathleen, visit our website

You can also find additional information on our website about theLiterary Artist Fellowship program.