Poet Laureates Around the Nation: Michael Glaser,
Poet Laureate, Maryland
On Writing: I remember writing stories in 7th grade, I didn’t start writing poems seriously until I was in graduate school.
Inspirations: I was inspired by connecting powerfully to Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” suddenly understanding that poetry was about what it means to be human. I was inspired by Wordsworth writing about wanting to write poems that used the common language of the ordinary man. I have been inspired to my best poems, I think, by being father to my children.
Challenges: As a writer: being patient, trusting the process of a poem becoming what it wants to become. Letting go of ego as I write.
Turning Points: I don’t see writing as a career. It is not something I ever aspired to, but rather is something I do—it is a major part of how I seek to make sense of my life and the world I live in; to give voice to those aspects of my experience that matter most to me.
Mentors: Judith Hall; Lucille Clifton; William Meredith; William Stafford; Galway Kinnell, Hafiz, Mary Oliver (the first two as literal mentors—those who have discussed my poetry with me in detail—the other five mentors in the sense that I have been moved and inspired by their work and studied it carefully to understand how it works).
Favorite books/poems: Too many! But I’d definitely have to add (to the poets above), T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and many of Stanley Kunitz’s poems.
Advice to young writers: Would a literary agent help to launch their career? How do you go about finding one?
Write about what matters most to you—write about what you are given to write about. Write about it until you discover something you didn’t know you knew. It is writing that is important—not being a poet, but rather making poems. Xerox your favorite and best poems and give them to your friends, and neighbors and people passing you on the street! Create your own poetry group—get together and share your work—read favorite poems to each other. Celebrate life. Stay awake!! Keep on keeping on!