Saturday, May 15, 2021

Somerville Poet Gloria Mindock: A Poet who makes 'ashes' fly to the sky...


Interview with Doug Holder

Somerville Poet, publisher Gloria Mindock is an institution around our town, and beyond. She founded the Cervena Barva Press, and was our former poet laureate. She has been active member of the arts scene for a number of decades. Mindock has a new poetry collection "Ash" from the Glass Lyre Press. This is from their website:

In Ash, Gloria Mindock writes a gritty, beautifully haunting collection of poetry. Ash is what remains behind after destruction, ruin, death, and burning. Similarly, the poems in this collection are what will remain. Fight the shadows and wade through the darkness on a path paved by Mindock's vivid imagery, stark language, and dynamic voice, all of which, make for a most memorable experience. Now more than ever, we need these poems. With the utmost economy of words, skillful syntax, and emotional connections, each poem reverberates into the depths of your consciousness. Dark, intense, and wholly unique, Ash, by Gloria Mindock is what you've been waiting for- a collection of poetry that consumes and smolders... 

 -Renuka Raghavan, author of Out of the Blue and The Face I Desire

You start your new poetry collection " Ash" with a quote from Lidija Dimkovska, " the monster is sitting next to me, and it's so crowded in there, the membrane between me and the events of the world are going to burst." Have things for you burst.—is the membrane, no more?

When I read her quote, I had to use it. The world is so full of chaos everywhere you look. There are atrocities, Covid, social justice issues, power struggles, border woes, economic trouble, death, hate crimes, and the list goes on. Whatever membrane there is, it is quickly disappearing. For me, I cling on to hope that things will get better. There are so many wonderful people out there. I hang on to that.

You are known as a dark poet, but do you have a sense of ugly/beauty, and gallows humor a midst the carnage?

Yes, I am known as a dark poet in my writing, but I am a happy person, cheerful, and find humor in so many things. There are so many beautiful places in this world to see and be a part of. In my life, all my friends are positive, loyal, and caring. Being a publisher, has brought so many people into my life from all over the world. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. We all are bridging the gaps between countries and learning about one another.

I also give time to the things that need to change and be a voice for the people who have no voice. This is my calling. Right now, many of us are working to help a writer in Africa because the government is after him because he speaks his mind. He loves his country but has no freedom. I cannot say too much about this because he is in hiding.

I can find humor but to deal with the ugly, the carnage, I keep things in perspective. I do all I can to change the bad but live my life. I love to bring joy into this world and shine light in the dark corners of the world.

In your title poem " Ash," with an ashes to ashes, dust to dust theme, you speculate that your ash will may be part of a child's toy, or a piece of trash blowing in the wind. You were brought up a Catholic, do you have any personal sense of the afterlife?

I consider myself spiritual. I was raised Catholic and (Saint)Pope John XXIII is my relative on one side of my family and on the other side, there are many priests. I do believe in an afterlife, Angels and God. I respect all religious beliefs and have also taken some of those beliefs into my life too.

Poet Flavia Cosma opined that you know nothing heals. Do you agree with that statement--is there ever a balm that heals our wounds?

Everyone is wounded in some way or another. It could be a little wound or a big one. Being a counselor and clinical director in addictions for almost 40 years, I have seen the wounded. Dealing with many veterans at times, I have seen the wounded. Watching the news, I see the wounded. The fact is the world is wounded, but you learn to live with it. When you help others and show kindness, this helps the wounds heal, and make wounds easier to live with.

The 'sky' in your poems, seem more than just a place for ash to drift down. It seems a place of transcendence, a place where you can fly.

I have always, since a young girl, seen the sky as heaven. It is so beautiful. The stars at night so gorgeous. It is a place of calm looking at us. It too has a violent side, bad storms, floods caused by rain, and tornadoes. There is beauty with the storms, but it is horrible when people lose their homes or die. Everything seems to have another side to it. No matter what, it is transcendence, and the universe is where you fly. Ash is just a memory the rest of us have. We never forget those we love that have passed on.

Many of your books deal with atrocities, what draws you to this?

As mentioned above, I try to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice. It is important for me to bring awareness to what is going on. It is surprising how many people don’t know what is happening or are not interested in being involved. When innocent people are getting slaughtered, how can you turn away and live with yourself? So many countries over the years ignored the atrocities happening. The UN does not want to call situations a genocide because they will have to get involved. This infuriates me. So many countries turn a blind eye. You see this happening over and over. So no, I will never shut up about it. I am currently writing about Syria. I do have first-hand accounts of the horror. So I continue…


  1. Wow, fantastic short interview! The world is wounded and many turned a blind eye! Genocide is going on everyday! Poets must speak the truth to power and shine bit of light in the dark side but also rejoice in the beauty and courage of those who are fearless! Gloria is fearless, a warrior poet.

  2. This is truly an insightful and exceptional interview. Gloria Mindock's exquisite poetry gives a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves from war-ravaged lands. Bravo to her for her courage and dedication to this vital mission!