Oyster River Pages: Why did you choose Oyster River Pages?
Bill Brown: A friend, Sandy Coomer, had a beautiful poem in ORP. I love the presentation and whole issue. So, I decided to send a few poems myself.
ORP: What’s the most recent work that surprised you?
BB: Two new prose books knocked my socks off—Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses…WOW, what sharp detail and story telling!!
ORP: If you could tell your younger creative self anything, what would it be?
BB: I’m 69 years old and I have been publishing since my early thirties. I would say: Younger self, we must communicate together. Therefore, recent poems start with my younger voice in another place and time and then end with my current voice and the recognition of new insights and discoveries of the writer’s life journey.
ORP: What are you doing to shape and inspire the next generation of artists?
BB: I design writing prompts and lead workshops for experienced and beginning writers. I introduce to them poets and poems that have greatly influenced my own work.
ORP: Who are your biggest influences?
BB: I have many favorites but this short list sticks in my mind: Yeats, Frost, Emily Dickenson, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver and Bob Dylan.
ORP: What advice would you give someone who has never been published?
BB: Read 20 poems for every one you write.
ORP: What is the first creative piece that made you cry?
BB: “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden
ORP: What are you currently working on?
BB: My new and selected, The Cairns, is currently being designed and published by 3: A Taos Press in Denver. While that process is continuing, I’ve got a new manuscript of recently published poems. Surprisingly enough, the current title is The Headless Angel, after the poem coming out in ORP.
Bill Brown is the author of ten poetry collections and a textbook. New work appears or is forthcoming in Tar River, Atlanta Review, Potomac Review, Worcester Review, Evening Street Review, Cumberland River Review, Louisville Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Columbia University Journal, among others. Find his poetry here.