Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Kirsten is the Minnesota April Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob this month and I had a chance to ask her some questions about poetry, her writing life and her creative ideas. Read on to learn more about Kirsten Dierking and her beautiful books of poetry.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I went to Hamline University for my graduate degree in creative writing, but I've been writing poetry since I was a child. Growing up I lived in Minnesota, Toronto, and Boulder, Colorado. I currently live just outside St. Paul, and I've been married for 27 years. I run (slowly!) and finished my first half-marathon last fall (slowly!). I have three dogs (small, medium and large). The large dog is a Labrador mix, and she just turned sixteen and a half!
2. Why did you become an author of Poetry?
My mom read poetry to me when I was little instead of bedtime stories, so I always had poetry in my life, and I always had that rhythmic language in my life. As a kid, I wrote poetry in school whenever I could, and sometimes I just wrote it for fun. When I got older I did write fiction, and in fact, I went to grad school thinking I would write fiction, but once I got there, my voice kept going back to my first love, poetry. Poetry suits the way I think in my own head the best.
3. How are poetry books compiled?
I usually write a lot of poems, on whatever diverse topics come to me, and when I have a good pile of them, I start to look at them for commonalities, to see how they might fit together as a collection. I look for common themes, recurring imagery, things like that.
4. What is the back story behind Tether?
Tether was put together the same way. I think of each of my books as a reflection of where my thoughts were at that time in my life. When I wrote Tether (and I wrote it over a period of about 5
years), I was interested in the way time passes - sometimes it moves so fast, at other times you have these pockets of stillness where time seems to slow, even stop. I wanted to capture both those things.
5. Where do you get your inspiration?
A lot of Tether was inspired by water - there are lake and river and ocean poems in this book, a lot of water imagery. A lot of blue! I am inspired by water, and by nature - places that allow my mind to relax so I can think.
6. Do you read? What books or author/poets inspire you?
I am a big reader, I don't think I've ever been without a book since I learned to read - I read everything from poetry to mysteries to young adult fiction to classic literature. See my earlier guest post for poets who I love and who inspire me. As for fiction - I love Wuthering Heights, I also really liked the Red Rising series. Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins was the book that left the biggest impression on me last year - I was kind of shattered by the ending of that book. I really like Hilary Mantel's historical novels, particularly Wolf Hall. But I also enjoyed World War Z, a zombie apocalypse book.
7. I am intrigued by the other books you have written. Tell us a little bit about your other books.
One Red Eye was about my experience as a rape victim when I was in college. It was a very violent attack, I almost died, and I suffered from PTSD afterwards. I had to write that book first, as it was, unfortunately, the dominant event in my life at that point. I needed to get that story out of my head and onto paper, so I could move on to other things. My second book, Northern Oracle, is more what I wanted to write, it's much more of an immersion in nature.
8. How do you carve time out of your busy day to write? Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? What is one of your daily writing rituals or habits?
I do have a full-time job teaching at a community college. I used to teach part-time and write more, now that I teach full-time I do find it difficult to find time to write. A lot of my creative energy goes into creating lesson plans and class activities. These days I do most of my writing in the summer when I have a break. Sometimes I just have to make myself sit down and write. Sometimes I need prompts or exercises to get me going. Sometimes I have ideas that I've jotted down, and I’ll take those out and work on those. I get a lot of ideas when I'm out running through the woods, or around the lake - I try to remember them as I run home, and I'll write them down to work on them later. Sometimes it takes me so long to get home, I forget the idea!
9. Usually poetry is autobiographical and personal. Is it hard to share your personal memories and experiences with the world? Why do you do it?
It was a little hard when my first book came out since it was about rape, I wasn't sure how people would react, but everyone I knew was so supportive. I'm an introvert, and I feel like if I really want to communicate with the world, writing is a good way for me to do that. And even though I might prefer to do it through writing, I do want to communicate, I like the idea of sharing thoughts and ideas with others, and particularly with readers, maybe because reading is one of the great pleasures in my life.
10. In one sentence, tell readers why they should read Tether.
To pause with me, and think about our lives, and consider some lovely images -- while we let the world hurry on around us.
If you would like to win copies of Kirsten's poetry books please click the links.
One Red Eye Giveaway