Walter here presenting Grace’s Chat With Laurie Kolp
So Laurie, what are you current preoccupations?
First of all, I want to thank you for thinking of me… and Happy Anniversary! My how time flies. I’m not sure if you know this, but last October I returned to teaching after a 14-year hiatus. What a shock that was! Now that it’s summer, I’m able to relax a little and realize just how happy I am to be back in the classroom. I’m really enjoying spending time with my kids. It hasn’t taken me long to get back in the groove of staying at home. In July, I’ll be attending the Poetry Society of Texas Summer Conference. I’m also preparing poems to enter into their annual contest, which are due in August.
Are there any memorable events or milestones that you would like to share with us?
Of course as know about my complete poetry collection Upon the Blue Couch that came out in 2015, but did you know my chapbook Hello, it’s Your Mother was published last year? The poems were inspired through my experience of caring for my mother during her cancer battle and death 5 months after diagnosis. On a more positive note, my first grand-nephew was born 6 weeks ago!
You are still writing your fabulous poetry, correct?
I will always write poetry. I had to readjust when I went back to work, but found that sitting down to my computer to write after a hard day was just as therapeutic for me as a glass of wine might be for someone else. I don’t blog anymore, but I do keep an update list of publications on my website, http://lauriekolp.com so that you can still read my poems.
If yes, would you care to share a poem with us?
Sure. The poem Muffled is from my chapbook, Hello it’s Your Mother and was published in Turtle Island Quarterly.
My son asked if I caught the sound outside my window
where I sat writing this poem about blackbirds as harbingers of death
since I’d seen a flock of them sweep down upon my parent’s backyard
shortly before Mother’s passing. I hadn’t heard the ravens at all
the low hum of oxygen much too overbearing
yet hypnotic in its mundane way
breathing hope, invigoration
into Mom’s cancer-ridden body
that started five months ago
with lungs overpowered by black spots
like the birds filling their lawn
while I sat bedside, a vigilante.
So when my son asked if I heard the crickets,
his summer eyes eager to say goodbye
to a winter everything poets say winter is
in all the poems about dying in winter, which Mother did
faster than the seasons change, yet slow
from autumn to w i n t e r to spring
I said no.
To a new poet or writer, what lessons or insights would you like to share?
Whatever your goals are just never give up. Not every poet wants to be published, but if you do remember rejection is part of the process. Don’t let an editor’s opinion crush your spirit. Try and try again. Your words are meant to be heard. Draw support from online poetry sites like dVerse. The connections you make here will stick with you forever.
Any new projects coming up?
I’m working on a few chapbooks and contemplating another full-length book. I don’t know about that… I’ll have to see where the spirit leads me.
Thank you, Laurie!
For my leg of the dVerse Poets Pub 5th Anniversary Celebration, I’ll offer this quote for your consideration.
“I am cold, even though the heat of early summer is adequate. I am cold because I cannot find my heart.” ~Sebastian Barry from his novel A Long, Long Way
Draw something from these words and use that inspiration to craft your worded wonder.