How did you get started writing poetry?
I remember starting to write around fourth or fifth grade and reading it in class. But maybe it really was before that, in first grade--we had those 10x 8 practice writing workbooks We practiced every day from basic letters and then cursive. I remember how good it felt to hold the pencil and watch the letters form on the soft paper. After learning letters, of course, they are words.
Who has had the biggest impact on you as a poet?
I read Walt Whitman very young and even though I didn't understand much it was the music of it and what it made me feel--a strange giddy highness. I also took him seriously and literally. "From this hour, I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines..." Here was an old man long deceased telling a kid that it was okay to do this and freedom --something he mentions a lot -- sounded pretty damn good to me.
What inspires your poetry?
To be honest, I'm not sure. An idea or image will hang out in my head for way longer than anything else. I try to write that down and it goes from there. Those ideas or images are like crockpot fixings from life. A few times it might be a memory but usually it will be some silly thing I refuse to write down immediately such as what would happen if a woman jumps into the river to be swallowed by a giant catfish? And what the hell does that even mean?
What is next for you?
I'm working on a verse memoir. I think it may be the only way I can write a memoir. I don't know if it will work or not but it's worth giving it a try.
Anything else you'd like to share?
My website is salragen.com.