Oyster River Pages: What is your relationship to language, and how does that feed into your work?
Mare Leonard: I am a visual learner. I am really not a language person. I think in images and love write Ekphrastic works, poems from art. Of course there is bit of that visual in Staining The Canvas. Although it is a feminist poem, I used Rothko to help me go beyond the personal narrative. My favorite Ekphrastic poem will be published this fall at Hubbub, out of Reed College: Still Life with Aubergines: Collioure Summer 1911. (Henri Matisse)
ORP: What are you currently working on?
ML: A series of poems, all without punctuation and a short collaborative book: Letters to a Janitor--connected humorous stories illustrated by a cartoonist. I am also trying to do some promotion for my latest poetry book from Finishing Line Press and discovering that I am not a good ad woman. See I did not even include the title!
ORP: If you could tell your younger creative self anything, what would it be?
ML: Write every day and take risks. Trust your instincts. Join a writing group, even it on line. Read everything and not just social media.. How about some books of poetry? Two of my favorites poets--Elizabeth Bishop and Bernadette Mayer
Mare Leonard lives in an old school house overlooking The Rondout Creek. Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. She has published four chapbooks of poetry and a new one, The Dark Inside the Hooded Coat is available at Finishing Line Press. One of her poems, published in A Pickled Body, was recently nominated for a pushcart. She is currently featured in Issue 2 and our special Delta Issue.