This week we have an interview with a very special lady whose poetry has impacted my life! She is such an inspiration to me, and I hope she can be the same for you!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
First, I want to thank you, Carrie Ann, for having me. I am thrilled and honored that you have asked me to be a part of your interview series. My name is Susan Richardson. I am an internationally published writer and poet, living in the heart of Hollywood, with an Irishman, two pugs and two cats. I was born and raised near the ocean, under the sun, but I prefer the forest and the rain. I have a degenerative retinal disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa and also write a blog called, “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”. One day, my husband Joe and I will move to Ireland and into a quieter way of life. I long for that day.
Do you come from a literary background?
I grew up in a family of readers, and have been an avid reader my whole life, but I am the only writer in my family.
How did you get started as a poet?
As far back as I can remember, I have turned to writing as a form of creative expression. I wrote stories for years, but didn’t really get into poetry until I was 12 or 13. My sister gave me a copy of “Ariel” by Sylvia Plath, and from then on, I have been in love with poetry and how it can bring out the beauty in heartbreak and loss and darkness. I found that it is what comes most naturally from me as a writer, and what challenges me the most. When I was 20, I started submitting my poems to journals, and I had my first poem published when I was 21.
Do you find writing easy?
I find writing rewarding, but I wouldn’t say that I find it easy. I tend to write about the darker side of things, and that means I spend a lot of time with painful memories. I love the feeling when the words come together, but getting there can be challenging. I think this is why I am not a particularly prolific writer. I love to write, but I do it at my own pace.
Do you usually show your work in progress to anyone?
I just started showing my works in progress to other writers in the past few years, and I have to say that I find it incredibly helpful. It is nice to feel like I am not writing in a bubble, and having other readers means fresh perspective and eyes, which is great. I am really interested in starting or becoming part of an online writing group where we exchange and critique each other’s work.
How do you relax?
I would say my favorite mode of relaxing is reading. I also meditate and I love watching a good murder mystery show on TV.
Who are your favorite living poets?
My favorite living poets are many, but to name a few: Margaret Atwood, Sharon Olds, Jericho Brown, Anna Saunders, JP Howard, Steve Denehan, Dorianne Laux, and so many more.
Who are your favorite dead poets?
Some of my favorite poets who are no longer living, are Sylvia Plath, June Jordan, Anne Sexton, Seamus Heaney, Emily Dickenson, Charles Bukowski, Philomene Long, and the list goes on and on.
Do you have a favorite form of poetry that you enjoy writing/reading?
Free verse is by far my favorite form of poetry to write and to read; I find it to be the most accessible. It has so much range and possibility as a form. I find that rhyming poetry takes rare skill and for that reason I shy away from it both as a writer and a reader.
Can you give any advice to someone wanting to write and publish poetry?
My only piece of advice when it comes to writing poetry is always the same, be honest. If you begin with the truth, then you have the bones of what can become a great poem, and if you aren’t honest in your writing, no amount of skill or knowledge can make your poetry good. As far as publishing, the best advice I have ever gotten is to do your research when it comes to the journals where you submit your work; make sure you are sending your poems to a place you feel would be a good home for your work, and a journal that is publishing work you love. And most importantly, persevere. You will get rejections and they will sting, but keep submitting because the acceptances feel amazing.
You have an upcoming book that’s about to be released, correct?
I do, and I couldn’t be more excited. “Things My Mother Left Behind” is my first full length collection, published by Potter’s Grove Press https://pottersgrovepress.com. It is a dream come true for me.
Tell us about this book and what/who influenced you to write it.
“Things My Mother Left Behind” is about loss and how it shapes our lives in so many ways. It is an examination of darkness and what darkness truly means. It is about love and vulnerability.
Where can we purchase this book?
“Things My Mother Left Behind” will be officially released in paperback and ebook, and available on Amazon, on July 14. I will also be selling signed copies on my website. If you are interested in pre-ordering the ebook, you can do so here https://pottersgrovepress.com/2020/05/25/things-my-mother-left-behind-available-for-pre-order/#comments
Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks … how do you write?
It took me a long time to put down the pen and paper, but as my vision has deteriorated, I find that it is easier to write on the computer.
Which writer/poet would you most like to have a drink with, and why?
Sylvia Plath. It will always be Sylvia Plath, because she is who made me fall in love with poetry.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a writer/poet? How do these influence your writing?
I think my biggest challenge is one that all writers face; self-doubt. Being a writer is very isolating and it is easy to question yourself when the rejections start piling up. I also face physical challenges because of my vision, but with technology, those challenges are becoming less.
Susan Richardson is an award winning, internationally published poet. She is the author of “Things My Mother Left Behind”, coming from Potter’s Grove Press in July 2020, and also writes the blog, “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”. You can find her on Twitter @floweringink, listen to her on YouTube, and read more of her work on her website.
To purchase her upcoming book, be sure to click on the image below!