Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“Questions for a Poet” Interview with Kevin Gallagher author of LOOM."

Kevin Gallagher


“Questions for a Poet” Interview with Kevin Gallagher author of LOOM.
Interview conducted by Mikayla Brasefield


In a small corner of the writing world, poetry exists as the beating heart of literature. It has existed for many centuries in numerous parts of the world - from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh to the Japanese “haiku”. Poetry has inspired many, and has been inspired by the events of the world and their effects on humanity. On blustery March 2nd, a poet by the name of Kevin Gallagher visited Endicott College to speak to the young poetry community about his recent poetry book entitled Loom. It holds the truths about the connections between Northern capitalists and Southern slavers during the days of civil injustice and prejudice against the blacks. Brilliantly written in such a way as to merely hint at the novel behind his words, Gallagher sheds new light on a part of American history that most of America had previously tried to remain ignorant of. But what makes the poet, the poet you might ask? In this short, yet enlightening interview, I was able to discover a bit more about the “man behind the curtain” as it were.
1. Your passion for Loom's overarching theme is apparent in your poems. What was your drive going into such a controversial topic?
Well, the race relations in the US have become quite heated.  I was living in Washington DC for a year and two things happened. First, my son was in school and getting a very different picture of the Civil War.  Second, the Freddy Gray murder happened in Baltimore.  Rather than going at it face first, I took the path of Seamus Heaney, Charles Olson, Muriel Rukeyser and others—and dealt with the present as an artist by confronting our past.
2. In an article from masspoetry.org you talk a little bit about how lyric poetry hits you and in the next moment, disappears. Do you carry a poetry journal with you to write down fragments of poems as they come?
Sometimes.  Or, backs of envelopes and so forth.  I live a hectic life now with kids and a demanding job.  More often than not the lyric poems disappear before any of it gets on paper.  That is why the narrative project has become good for me at this point in my life.  When I have time I can sit down and 'pick up the story.'
3. Various articles have mentioned a few of your favorite poets as Walt Whitman, Fanny Howe, and Kenneth Rexroth - whom your dog is named after I noticed. What did you find about their works that drew you in so much?
Purity.  Empathy.  The struggle to make sense of the US and be an American at the same time.  Rexroth to me is the best—so many wide ranging poems.  And, whenever I feel really harried, I go to his nature poems and to the Sierras.
4. Do you ever have writer's block? (If so, do you ever give yourself little poetry prompts? If you do, what are some of them you find useful?)
I'm older now and realize that if you are truly a poet you are always one.  So, sometimes poems fly out of you on a daily basis, sometimes nothing happens for months.  After seeing that happen for the past thirty years I never let a dry spell get to me.  If I ever feel like it is too distant I find a new poet to read or go back to my favorites.
5. You are a professor, dad, husband, and poet. How do you manage balance?
I have a full life, and it makes for good poetry.
6. What advice would you give to young, aspiring poets?
            Read and memorize lots of poetry.  Live a full life.  At some point full poems come.

If you’d like to learn more about the amazing “artist of words”, hear more from his works, or find out about his newest poetry book “Loom”, you can find him on the following interweb sources:


 Mikayla Rose Brasefield (19) is a sophomore Nursing major from Vernon, CT, with a previous history in Creative Writing. She was featured in her high school’s student-written and published magazine, titled War & Pieces (2015), was awarded an honorable mention in the Nancy Thorpe Poetry Contest (2014), and has won several silver medals and a gold medal for some of her poetry/writings in the annual Scholastic Art & Writing Contest.

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