Thursday, January 3, 2013

Interview with writer and poet John Yamrus

Today's guest is writer and poet John Yamrus. His newest collection of poetry is titled Can't Stop Now!

Another collection of poems will be published from Epic Rites Press this month, Bark. 

Since 1970 John Yamrus has published 2 novels and 20 volumes of poetry. He has also had more than 1,400 poems published in print magazines around the world. His work is regularly taught in colleges and universities.

Welcome, John. What do you enjoy most about writing poems? 
The surprises. I like surprising myself. I hate starting a poem with a set goal in mind. Those poems never work out. If I find myself having what I think is a good idea for a poem…I scrap it and go do the dishes instead. It’s more productive.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your poems – perhaps a couple of your favorites?
I have no insight and I have no favorites. They’re just poems. What I DO have is the poem that made it all make sense for me. The one where I started to figure it all out.  Here it is:

“write a poem about THAT,”


on the edge
of the bed,


The thing that makes that poem work for me is that the reader ends up doing half the work. The hardest thing for a writer to learn is what NOT to say. That poem could have been a mile longer, but if it was…if I spelled everything out for the reader, it would have lost all of its punch and interest. See what I mean?

What form are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I have no form. The poems tell me what to do and what to say. Form is just a crutch.

What type of project are you working on next?
I’ve got to paint the sun room and scrub the kitchen floor.

When did you first consider yourself a writer / poet?
I’m glad you qualified that, and gave me the chance to refer to myself as a writer and not a “poet”.  I hate the term “poet”. I find it degrading and limiting. I’d rather refer to myself as just a song and dance man. Hell, I’d rather be a plumber than a poet. 

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for not-yet-published poets?
Avoid the Internet. Stop calling yourself a poet. Write early. Drink often. And read Bram Stoker’s Dracula at least once a year.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
That’s probably the best question you’ve asked so far, and one I don’t have any answer for.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Don’t try so hard, and don’t take yourself seriously. If you want to be a writer, do something every day. Stop talking about it and get the job done.

Thanks, John.

Readers, if you'd like to chat with John, he'll be at The Writer's Chatroom for a 2-hour live chat this Sunday, January 6, from 7-9PM EST. Feel free to stop in. No password or registration is needed.

1 comment:

Janne said...

This interview is EPIC! You've gotta love this man. Great writer.