Thanks to Lisa Ampleman for inviting me to participate in the chain-letter Internet crisscross blog tour about our writing processes.
Lisa is the author of the poetry collection Full Cry (NFSPS Press, 2013), winner of the Stevens Manuscript Competition sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and the chapbookI’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You (Kent State UP, 2012), winner of the Wick chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, and in literary journals, including 32 Poems, Cave Wall, Cimarron Review, Image, Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, Natural Bridge, New Ohio Review, New South, Notre Dame Review, Poetry, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Sugar House Review.
Lisa holds a BA from Beloit College, an MFA from George Mason University, and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. She was the Mona Van Duyn Scholar in Poetry at the 2013 Sewanee Writers Conference and is the recipient of two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes. She is a Mullin Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC from 2013-15.
Lisa has also taught at Fontbonne University in St. Louis and served as associate editor of the Cincinnati Review. She is currently an associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly and lives in Ohio.
Here are my answers to the tour’s questions:
1) What are you working on?
I recently finished writing a new book called “The Disguises of Fire”. It was a very consuming process that took me out of my comfort zone to explore other parts of myself, my voice, and interest. I think it represents a different side of me and is different from my other works. I will probably take a short break from writing poetry and focus on reading, listening and living-inspiration for future writing. However, I am still writing essays and working on other projects, including anthologies, for several Mexican printing houses.
2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
I believe that when you are truly yourself and express yourself in what you do, it is unavoidable to be different. My obsession with music is apparent in my work. My sense of rhythm is recognizable. Music is a part of my poetic process. More recently, the idea that everything is the repetition of an ancient archetype, is very strong in my work.
3) Why do you write what you do?
Poetry is the only kind of writing that I feel I have the expressive need to fulfill. However, I believe in impurity, and my poems are very often affected by narrative, essayistic prose, music and even visual art references.
4) How does your writing process work?
First, I feel the need to say something. Sometimes, I don’t even know what that something is, but I know that the poem will make it clear to me. Then I have, not a word, but a sound that comes to mind, a rhythm that becomes a word that attracts other words to make a verse. Then I see the idea and start wrestling with the words, the sounds, the melody and the meaning, to make the poem, the final product. As it is easy to imagine, I am a very slow wrtiter.
Please, read this wonderful poems by Lisa Ampleman