1. What is you personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.
2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?
3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?
1. It depends on the poem I’m writing (lyric, narrative, or prose poem) and what I want to achieve. Poems that tell stories need longer lines to sustain a narrative, or need to be written in one or a series of paragraphs, but in the lyric poem, the shorter lines ask the reader to slow down and pay attention, even if the reader wants to move quickly. I love poems that seem to be written in one breath, leaving me winded after a long rushing sentence. I love to read poems like this slowly and pay attention to line breaks and enjambment. The poems in Nancy Kuhl’s Little Winter Theater are a wonderful example of this. There’s a lot of breathlessness in those poems. Overall, I’d say I let the poem take me where it wants to go, and dictate line length or placement of lines in the poem.
2. Yes. Writing allows me to question what I don’t understand, and much of that is connected to the physical body: its fragility, aging, and illnesses. I’ve found that if I don’t question what angers or irritates or saddens me, then I can’t speak to what’s really important, and that, for me, is being engaged in the world and finding joy in small things. That joy silences what haunts me.
3. Not at all. I love what I do, I love the experimentation allowed in this genre.
A poem, which appeared in Issue 19 of damselfly press:
You never forget what was lost:
a favorite pendant dropped
down a vent shaft,
the last breaths of the first family dog.
Gradually, you learn to let these things
keep their shapes in your life
even after they’ve become shadows.
Even your own child slips from your life,
first day of school.
Her old clothes, too small now,
take up space in the basement,
sealed into bins, saved for no other reason
than a look back.
A link to the poem at damselfly press, which also offers a reading of the poem: http://damselflypress.net/category/issues/issue-19-issues
Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of the chapbook Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, Kestrel, Diode, Referential Magazine, and Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems. She teaches at Lake Superior State University where she edits the journal Border Crossing.