Oyster River Pages: Why did you choose Oyster River Pages?
Gaby Bedetti: I like the ethos of Oyster River Pages—the fact that it’s a collective; has an internship, a writer-friendly tone, inviting portal, range of contributors, gorgeous images; promotes its artists; has a manifesto--“What We Love,” and is just plain friendly.
ORP: When did you first learn that language had power? What was that experience like for you?
GB: In graduate school at the University of Iowa, I could not bring myself to choose among the arts. I took ballet and tap classes, worked at the art museum, listened to the singing bridge, and studied comparative literature. After a good bit of debate with myself about which artistic approach was most powerful, I decided on words and wrote my dissertation about poetic rhythm.
ORP: What does becoming a “better” writer or artist look like to you? How do you define success?
CS: A better poem would engage more readers on more levels by using all the poetic and linguistic devices available. The poem would be so rich and textured that it would require more than a couple of readings to plumb its truth. When I feel I have succeeded with a poem, I feel a pleasure in having been able to articulate something that has left a mark on me.
ORP: What are you doing to shape and inspire the next generation of artists?
CS: At my university, I try to demonstrate the possibilities of word choice, syntax, and literary figures in my stylistics course; in my general education courses, I help students explore the possibilities of dialogue and comedy in the plays they write and perform. I advise the student-run literary magazine editors for Aurora: EKU’s Literary and Arts Journal.
ORP: What are you currently working on?
CS: For the short term, I am working on poems inspired by two summer destinations--the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop in Hindman, Kentucky, and a family trip to New York City to visit our daughter. My long-term goal is a collection of poems that celebrate ageing.
Gaby Bedetti married a poet she met at a literature conference in Louisville, and together they raised a couple of kids. Henri Meschonnic's American translator, she has published in such journals as Off the Coast, Italian Americana, The Voices Project, and Poet Lore. For the past four years she has written a poem a day in June for her town’s poetry blog http://lexpomo.com/. When she is not teaching at Eastern Kentucky University, she hikes, takes photos, plants trees, and sings in several choirs. Find her poetry here.