Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mass Poetry's Laurin Macios : A poet who 'feels' her poems.

Poet Laurin Macios

Mass Poetry's Laurin Macios : A poet who 'feels' her poems.

By Doug Holder

Laurin Macios is a poet who feels her poems. She is not so much about the reader understanding the poem, but she is all about evoking emotion, and vivid sensory experiences in his or her reading of her work.

Laurin Macios directed Mass Poetry’s programs, including Student Day of Poetry, Poetry on the T, Common Threads, U35, and Professional Development, and managed the crew of dedicated volunteers and interns who help make Mass Poetry run smoothly. She holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire, where she taught on fellowship for three years, and has a background in publishing. Her publications and other personal poetic happenings can be found at I spoke with her on my Somerville Community Access TV show""Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer,"shortly before she relocated to New York City.
Doug Holder: I read in an interview with you that as a child you loved the smell of old books. Does smell stoke your poetic flames?

Laurin Macios: It does actually. And old books are a big one. There are also a lot of flowers in my poems. A lot of memories are evoked by scent.

DH:: What is it about the scent of an old book?

LM: I don't know. I am one of those people who will never be a Kindle person. I love holding books in my hand. I feel I have a relationship when I read. An old book has that tangible scent about it-- it has been around.

LM: You studied with Charles Simic, and David Rivard at the University of New Hampshire. Simic was the U.S. Poet Laureate. What was your experience with both of these poets?

DH: I think David Rivard is a master. He is always using language in interesting ways and is always challenging you to do that. I actually sat in all of David's workshops that I wasn't enrolled in. I learned a lot from him and what other workshop participants were contributing. This affected my writing. Charles Simic's workshops are funny. They are very quick like his poems. They are very to the point. My favorite piece of advice from him was, “ The poem needs a cat in it.” Conference time with my teachers at UNH was very important. They showed me what is the best to do in your poem, --not necessarily what you want to do.

LM: You have described yourself as a poet from the heart.

DH: When I turn to poetry it is to feel. When some people read my poems and say, “ What are they about?” I don't feel the need to answer that question. I turn to poetry to write about things that are not easily explained.

DH: As Program Directory at Mass. Poetry you were involved with running a number of interesting programs. What come to mind is “Poetry on the T,” and “U35.”

LM: Poetry on the T is my favorite. We put poems into ad space in the T. Luckily we got a non-profit rate. We are doing well with this. Right now we have two sets of poetry on the T. We adopted U35 from Daniel Evans Pritchard. We took it over last year. Basically it consists of poets under 35 in a bar seating, reading from their work. We have videos of the readings on our website

DH You have a background in publishing, correct?

LM: Most recently I worked for Pearson—an educational publisher. I loved the free textbooks I got there.

DH: In your poem “ A Little Breath,” you write about a cliff in Japan that has sign near the abyss that states “ A Dead Flower Will Never Boom.” Supposedly this sign gives hope to potential leapers. Did you think your poems could offer hope to someone in this kind of pain?

LM: I would hope my poems offer hope, but I don't harbor that delusion. I feel poetry has the potential power though.

DH:Who are your poetic influences?

LM: I am very influenced by Mary Oliver and also a lot by Whitman.

DH: As we mentioned before you work for the Mass. Poetry Festival. This will be held in Salem, Mass—April 29, 2016 to May 1, 2016. Any hints about what's happening there this year?

LM: Well some headliners will be Marie Howe, David Rivard and Mark Doty. There will be a small press fair—and a hundred other sessions—readings, workshops, etc...


“Wait a minute. A dead flower will never bloom.”
-A note to those contemplating suicide at the cliffs of
Sandanbeki, Japan

A dead flower
will never turn itself
toward the sun,
like a ship backing slowly
out of port. Time, in fact,
will have let go.
You are one soft ocean
full of mountains,full of
bright cellsin depths
we’ll never see.
Wait and think of nothing.
Think of never thinking
of nothing again. Never waiting
again. Think of losing
the air that is touching the tips
of your fingers. Don’t your fingers
suddenly feel a little breath?
Do they seem to maybe be tentacles?
Are you inhaling? Exhale.
Think of exhaling.
Are you sure you’re ready
for the dead gone years to stack?
Soon you’ll have been dead
for longer than you lived.
You don’t think it will be soon?
You’re forgetting how long
it has taken to get here—
your two legs braced, clothed,
this cliff beneath you raised
from nothing. Years ago
you would have been swimming
in this spot. Years from now
you could be something else entirely.

1 comment:

  1. I can identify with this poet through her choice of Mary Oliver as a model. It warms my creative senses to share their company together at Doug Holder's forum of writers of poetry.