Fleda Brown, Delaware
Studied Poetry: I took only one course as
an undergraduate: Imaginative Writing, including all genres.
I got a Ph.D. in literature and took no more poetry workshops,
none at the graduate level. I read on my own.
wrote poems off and on through all of my school years. I
won an undergraduate award for my poems, but I didn’t
take myself seriously until the time I was writing my dissertation.
I think I began to understand discipline and to apply the
same focus and hard work to my poems. I began to get them
accepted by good journals.
water (our cottage on a lake in Michigan), nature, politics,
etc.. I could go on, because I really don’t think inspiration
is the issue. These are only subjects. Inspiration is what
happens when I get mired in the middle of a poem and suddenly
the subject breaks open and surprises me by where it takes
Favorite Poets: No
one particular writer. I read everyone and the ones who are
my favorite are often the ones who have something to teach
me at the moment. They are the ones I’m drawn to—I see where I am and
where I want to go, and I look to the poets who’ve done
work kind of like that, and read them.
Feeling like a lousy poet, or feeling like the last good
poem I wrote is the only one I’ll ever write again,
and not being sure even that one was any good.
Advice: Read many good poets. Read some bad poets. See what the
difference is. Write a lot and learn to revise ruthlessly.
Study with a poet who has something to teach you. Know when
to listen and know when it’s time to slog it out on