I recently had the pleasure to read a book of poetry and interview the author, who is local to Portland. I was sent the book by the publisher but I enjoyed the book of poetry so much I wanted to write a post about it and hopefully turn on some readers to it.
Here is an excerpt from my favorite poem in the book:
Beside the Sea
It’s peaceful here beside the sea,
Where waves crash on the sand incessantly.
The sand just sifts and throws them back
To echo in the mist.
The ghostly moon throws shadows faintly
Upon the phosphorescent crests,
Silently weaving endless thought
As to and fro it pulls the mind.”
The reason the above poem was my favorite in the book was because it made me immediately imagine the Oregon Coast. I grew up in Seattle and as a kid we spent summer vacations at Rockaway Beach every year. I grew up feeling home whenever we were at the beach. I’d wander the dunes, dip my toes in the thick, wet, soft sand and feel the wind on my skin and just feel content and happy.
What I loved about the book was that each poem was a different little story and the author was very good at evoking so many different emotions with each poem. What I found as a common theme through most of the poems was love. And I’m a sucker for a good love poem.
Donald Elix is a local author, which interested me further, and I love supporting local people. Here is the link to his book:
Poetry to Challenge the Senses explores life, death, love, solitude, relationships and nature, and their meanings from his perspectives. Elix connects thoughts from his imagination and applies them to the real world, offering an array of insight on subjects like self-discovery and family.
“The book explores various historical places and time periods, in both the past and present, through brief yet thought-provoking verses,” Elix said. “My hope is to spark inspiration in those who are looking to explore life’s meaning and learn and develop from other’s experiences.”
I was happy to interview the author because as a writer myself, I want to know what the process is for other writers. What inspires them? Where do they write? How do they stay focused? Here is that interview:
- How do you begin a poem?
I usually begin a poem by first selecting a title and writing to the title.
- When did you realize that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
I realized that creating was absolutely something I had to do, when I wrote a poem in 30 minutes in an art class to submit in the English class that came next, while in high school. That poem titled “Spring” was published in the national high school poetry book for that year.
- What kind of creative writing routines or rituals do you have?
I am establishing new creative writing routines and rituals to get back to writing, as I have not done much for awhile. My plan is to disappear to a quiet sport for 2 or 3 hours on a Sunday to allow for creative thoughts to flow as I did several years ago.
- What are you reading right now?
Richest man who ever lived.
- What’s the worst advice you’ve heard authors give to other writers? What’s the best advice?
Your book will sell itself, don’t stress out about it, is the worst advice I’ve heard authors give to other writers. The best advice I’ve heard authors give to other writers is to keep writing, keep publishing, and stay in touch with your readers.
- Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are positive, who work hard and have varied interests.
- Love seems to be a common thread in your poetry. Do you find it easier or harder to communicate these emotions in your poetry vs. real life?
I don’t find it easier or harder to communicate love emotions in my poetry vs. real life, although when face to face it is more inspirational for me to express love than with pen to paper.
- I love that you are a local author. Are there particular places in Oregon that bring you the most inspiration?
The Oregon coast is the place that brings me the most inspiration, although the forest and the mountains are a close second.
- One of my favorite poems in your new book is “Escape to Imagination”. What was the inspiration for this poem?
The inspiration for “escape to imagination” was scenes remembered from my homestate of Ohio and visits to mountain areas in Oregon. Additional inspiration was derived from the need to escape urban areas that I worked in, both Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.
- As a writer I know the habit of starting and stopping something, putting it away, coming back to it, maybe never finishing it. How do you know when a poem is finished? How many half finished poems do you have stashed away?
Most of my poems were done in one sitting. I may have a half-dozen poems sitting in the file unfinished. They are there mostly because I found I didn’t have a good title. I know a poem is finished when the ideas cease to come to me. I do not stop writing in a sitting until ideas to continue cease to come to me.
I really appreciated the author taking the time to let me interview him and share his process with me and my readers. I’ve read his book several times now, relishing the poems and finding different meaning in the poems each time I read them.
I hope you check out his book!