Interview by Monika Bullette
Delaware Fun-A-Day isn't just for visual artists! We interviewed Lindsey Warren, the recipient of the 2015 DDOA Emerging Artist in Poetry Fellowship. Says Delaware Poet Phillip Bannowsky, “Lindsey Warren has a gift for metaphor. Her words pour out in a luscious serving of relations and revelations.” She is a 2 time participant (2012 and 2014). Thank you, Lindsey!
Are you a Delaware resident, born and raised?
Yes, I was born, raised and still live in Delaware. I will probably suffer some weird disease by the time I'm 50, thank you, DuPont.
Please describe your previous Fun-A-Day projects?
I've participated twice before (2012 and 2014). Both years I wrote (or tried to write) a poem each day. The main difference was in the display: 2012's efforts were simply hung up as individual poems on individual sheets of paper and 2014's were made into a chapbook entitled Luminous But Not Clear.
What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers?
Advice? Erm. I'm not sure I should be giving advice. I easily lose my mind over projects. However, the people who orchestrate Fun-A-Day are incredibly supportive and celebrate this community's talents. Let that be a comfort if and when you get discouraged.
How long have you been writing poetry? How did you get started?
I have been writing poetry since I was about twelve. At that age I wanted to be a nun and immersed myself in the literature of the Catholic Church. I wrote a lot of prayers and even re-created the Litany of the Blessed Virgin to fit my own subconsciously burgeoning love of the feminine. Even though my passion for the Catholic God morphed into a passion for poetry, I still write from a place of yearning to communicate with someone or something with which I have a profound mystical (however imagined) understanding. That stuff doesn't wash off.
How do you combat creative blocks?
Combating creative blocks can go down one of two roads: Either I sit there at my desk/bench/rock, go through a poem or several and make a list of words I really like in an attempt to jump-start my imagination (May Swenson poems are excellent for this, for the record), or I throw everything across the room in a temper tantrum and go do something completely unrelated to writing in order to clear my mind. The latter usually leads to a re-discovery of poetry in surprising and powerful ways, especially the throwing-stuff part.
Many great writers have day jobs (Melville a deputy inspector of customs, Kafka a legal clerk, Angelou a street car conductor). How do you think your work at a claims-processing facility helps your writing?
Processing asbestos claims...hmm....well, there's free coffee in the break room! Really, though, I work with a few people who inspire me just by virtue of their being alive. I hope to incorporate them into my poems at some point.
Do you have a favorite place to write in Delaware? Any hidden gems we should check out?
Yes. There is a bench next to a stone wall in Rockford Park. I have had many an idea there for the past decade (I sat there almost every day for all of autumn back in 2005). I call it my Epiphany Bench. Sit on it now, thank me later.
If you could travel in order to get inspiration, where would you go?
Oh man. I would probably go back to Spain, or maybe to the American Southwest. I like places that are uncluttered and bare to the elements - it encourages my mind to do the same. I wouldn't mind going someplace boreal, either, someplace so close to the ceiling of the planet that I bump my head on the Northern Lights.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
"What, are we leaving the lights on for God?" - my father, 1985-present
Light is a precious thing and I have learned over the years to not take it for granted. It pops up a lot in my poems. My favorite time of day is the blue hour, the hour right as the sun rises and the world's lingering silence is muffled by the music of arrived photons. I also find myself stupefied thinking about the entities and processes that exist outside the earthbound cycle of day and night. Thank you, dad, for your words of economic and metaphysical wisdom.
Please describe the project you're doing for Delaware Fun-A-Day 2016:
The project I am doing this year will be my cavernously amateur foray into the world of environmental art. Each day for the first two weeks of January 2016, I will write a brief poem and then display that poem out in the world by means of paper, chalk, stones, etc. as well as take a photo of it. I will return to that spot two weeks later to take another photo of where that poem was or still is and compare it to the original photo. I want to leave these poems out in the rain, so to speak, and see what the elements do to them. Our language is not infallible. Exposing it to mighty forces might help make it seem more vulnerable and pliable.
Do you have any other projects or events that you are working on? Where can we see you do a poetry reading?
I am working on too much at the moment. I'm working on poems about music (mainly jazz and Kate Bush), art (chiefly works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Joseph Beuys and Julia Condon) and where I grew up (Elsmere). I'm working on love poems, poems about goddesses, poems about autumn. There is a long poem I've been writing about an archangel I've created from my rib. There is an even longer poem I've been writing about the act of creating itself, which is probably my favorite topic. As far as readings, I hope to put together one at the Bellefonte Cafe sometime in the new year. Poets of Delaware, raise your hands! Let me know you exist!
Where can people check out more of your work?
I do not have a website. I should probably get me one of those.