Featured Poet: Carla Conley

with interview by C.M. Bailey 

For our inaugural issue, we are featuring poet Carla Conley. We asked Carla because she is a gifted, accomplished poet, and because when the seed of an idea for a journal took hold, she was there to help guide us through the technical issues. We had to have Carla for our first issue; we were ecstatic when she graciously accepted. 

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

– I have very many favorite authors! What they share is an elegant simplicity: the topic matter is profound but the story belongs to anyone who reads it. Dostoyevsky is an example of such a writer, and Steinbeck. 

Q: How does a poem come to you (the process of writing)?

– In my opinion, the question holds the answer. Poems just come to one…don’t they?

Q: What inspired the two poems you chose for this issue?

The Leaper is an attempt to understand my brother’s suicide. Such attempts never succeed entirely so the poem reappears at various stages wearing new clothing. It is a grim poem because its writer bows down ultimately to the largeness of the darkness and its taking forces. It has hope only in that light chases darkness, is made possible by it, becomes a searching force in its embrace.

– The Broken Pencils is an attempt to speak to legacy as it becomes a baton passed down from parent to child through generations. My own family is laden with Jewish intellectuals so that, although the children of my parents are all born Catholics, the tone of the poem draws from that rich emotive landscape as a larger truth. My oldest son is now a writer of some talent. The baton that was for me is now for him. I never carried it so very well anyway: my pencils all break whenever they have to do so. 

Q:  If you were a poem, what meter would you be? 

Carlameter, somewhat lambic with a wolf jumping at the tail.

Q:  Why should we read poetry?

We shouldn’t as a rule. It bores you, makes you feel stupid, or tears your heart into a new color.


Thanks Carla!





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