Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Interview with poet Margaret Goka

Poet Margaret Fourt Goka joins me to talk about her new chapbook, The Woven Flag.

Welcome, Margaret. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in Bethesda, Maryland for 18 years. I traveled to St. Louis, Missouri for college at Washington University, majoring in English Literature. I met and married my husband in St. Louis. We settled in Sunnyvale, California where we raised three daughters. I completed a master’s degree in linguistics at San Jose State University and worked teaching English as a second language for over 30 years. Now I am retired and a grandmother.

Please tell us a little bit about your current release.
I have recently published a book of poetry collected from writing over the years since I was an undergraduate. It contains poems written when my children were young to the present.

What inspired you to write the book?
I like to reflect on what I have done and thought through writing poems. I wrote about my children, cats, places where I have been, questions I have, and the lives of my parents and husband.

The dream comes out of sleep whole.
A universe creates within me
            As I wake.

            I write what I see
Like a sketch.

What are you working on next?
I need to find, collect and type up poems from journals and notebooks. I have not started this process yet. Some poems are thoughts or events I am sharing with my deceased husband.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In fourth grade my teacher told the class that we could all write a book someday. I always believed her. I took a poetry writing class in college which gave me some practice. After marrying it was hard to find time to write, but this gradually became easier as my children grew up and started their own adult lives. Even when they were small, I intended to write and collected my poems.

Do you write full time? What do you do other than write?
I do not write full time. I am active in my church, volunteer at the Sunnyvale Historical Museum, and go to an exercise class or walk to keep fit. When I get an idea to write about, I find time to work on it, but I do not put specific time aside to write when I do not have an idea.

What would you say is an interesting writing quirk?
My habit is to keep memos and shopping lists in a small memo notebook. Sometimes I’ll start writing a poem in it, but since the pages are small, the poem will be brief.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher.

Thank you for joining me today, Margaret!

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