Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Author/Poet Christopher Reilley. Christopher is a two-time Pushcart nominee, founder of the Dedham Poet Society and the Leicester Writers Guild. His work has been featured in numerous collections, anthologies and journals worldwide. He will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester on Saturday, March 14th at 2:00 pm, reading from his third collection, “One Night Stanzas,” published by Big Table Publishing, who also published his previous collection, “Breathing for Clouds.”
Asked where people can find your work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!), his response was:
www.bigtablepublishing.com, and of course, Amazon.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Come visit me at http://chrisreilleypoems.blogspot.com
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from One Night Stanzas?
I’m a pretty eclectic guy, I tend to try everything at least once. I got into poetry as a puzzle guy, fascinated by poetic forms, trying everything from limericks to ghazals, fitting just the right word in just the right place, keeping meter, and scansion, and storyline in mind. Although rhyme is not as popular as it used to be, I still write it, but I write free verse as well. I tend to try something every time I sit down to write.
What was the inspiration for One Night Stanzas? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
My publisher told me that I had carte blanche to collect anything I felt compelled to share for my third collection. In sorting through the hundreds of pieces I have, I noticed that a LOT of them had to do with love, in one form or another, so I decided to collect love poems. I separated them into poems of looking, loving, and loss. The rest was fairly easy.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
Knowing that my words have touched someone, somewhere, that I will never meet. That was entirely the point of my second collection and the title poem, Breathing for Clouds. Several months after its release, I got an email from a school girl in Brisbane, Australia, who told me that my poem, The Last Tree, made her cry, and asked permission to share it with her class during an environmental cycle in her school. That touched me deeply, and I hope that to be true of all of my poems.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
I’ve always followed Hemingway’s advice – write drunk, edit sober. By that I mean just get it out onto the page, you can then polish it until it gleams. I’d rather have a finished manuscript or story that is utter crap, than a half finished brilliant one.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I am currently working on a chap book called “Under the Gray Rainbow,” a collection of poems that look at the dark psychology of the characters created by L. Frank Baum for his many Oz books.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I also enjoy cooking, creating stained glass, making wine, and of course, doing puzzles of all kinds.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
- Having a creative writing degree does not make you creative. There are many poets who have an impressive litany of educational acronyms that are as boring as waiting at the DMV.
- Most poets do not really know how to give a dynamic and entertaining reading, they never look up, they mumble, they read in a monotone, etc. Brilliance at writing does not always equal brilliance in performing.
- The only critic you need to please lives in your own head, and you can learn to shut that jerk up as well.
Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?
Two books I would recommend: Stephen King’s “On Writing,” because it solidly promotes the work ethic required to be a writer, and Mary Oliver’s “A Poetry Handbook.” This slim volume is worth more than a dozen expensive poetry workshops.