Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Author Interview: Night Court by Erica Gross

When did you first discover poetry?

I can’t remember. Poetry was always around me from the time I was a small child. I heard poems in both English and German, which my parents recited to us and to each other. I reluctantly said a temporary goodbye to poetry in my mid-twenties, as I was occupied with working and starting a family. When I was thirty-five, I decided to go back to school, finish my degree, and get an MFA. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

What was your first poem titled and what was it about?

Here is a very early poem, which I wrote when I was ten:

Wait World

Wait! Wait for me
wait for me to catch
up with you
Hey, world
wait up! If you’ll
just wait a second
I’ll be caught up
so wait, will you?
I’ll be caught up

How many poetry collections have you published? How are they similar? How are they different?

I have one other poetry collection: my chapbook, titled Wild Place, which I published in 2012. The poems in Night Court, my new collection, extend the themes I explored in the first book: love, death, grief, and nature. Some of the poems in Wild Place are re-printed in Night Court. The new book has more political poems than the first, as well as poems about my family’s experiences with mental illness.

What theme ties the Night Court collection together?

Night Court is composed of five sections, each organized loosely around a theme. Each section except for the last has an “anchor” poem that also connects it to the other sections. These poems have “The Art of” in their titles. The first section is a kind of trip through my thoughts when I can’t sleep, which is most of the time, the second section is mostly about parents and grandparents, the third, marriage and motherhood, the fourth contains poems of the senses (this is where my food poems are) and the fifth wraps these themes up with poems that point to the future.

Is there a poet you admire or emulate?

I admire so many, and my list gets bigger all the time. I read Linda Pastan, W.S. Merwin, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds, Robert Duncan, William Carlos Williams, Louise Glück, Wanda Coleman, and Denise Levertov, among many others. I’m a fan of contemporary Irish women’s poetry. I think Ocean Vuong is amazing. His line, “I’ll tell you how we’re wrong enough to be forgiven” from the poem “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is like a burr in my skin.

What is up next for you?

I’m busy promoting Night Court right now, but I’m also working on a memoir, creating poetry and video classes, writing and publishing poems and articles, and working on videos.

Erica Goss is a poet and freelance writer. She served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA from 2013-2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award, Wild Place and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, Contrary, Eclectica, The Red Wheelbarrow, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review, among others. She is co-founder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls: . Please visit her website, Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Vimeo.

1 comment:

Serena said...

Thanks so much for being on the blog tour.