Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?
I like the idea of writing in coffee shops, and often do drafting there but the main business of writing takes place in my cluttered study at home.
What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?
I mostly work on the computer … Boring, I know.
What is your routine for writing?
With poetry at least, I’m usually working on something else and I’m taken by a line – never by an idea. I try to write the line down as I receive it, and that usually provides a way into something. Often my first draft is quite similar to the final version in terms of the trajectory, rhythm, tone etc. but some of the language will sharpen through drafting. I have more of a set routine writing prose because you can just turn up with prose and some days are better than others, but you know you’ll get something down. With poetry you’re really at the mercy of the Muse.
How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?
I wrote limericks and stuff like that as a kid but I started writing seriously when I began university—so about 22 years now.
Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?
I would have said in the past for as many people as possible, but I have come to the reluctant conclusion that most people like clichés, and as poetry is a war against cliché (a statement that may be a cliché itself) the poet really can’t write for everyone if they want to be true to their art.
What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?
Reading great poetry, especially contemporary work.
I’m not particularly prolific, but I’ve never worried about writer’s block.
What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?
I teach, play with my kids, read, watch soccer, and go to church.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
The initial rush of a line, and the final edit.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
Read all you can … and—if they’re not too famous—seek out those writers you admire and ask for some pointers. Most likely, they’ll have done the same in the distant past, and they will be happy to help. This is an easier proposition if they’re poets. If you are aspiring to be a poet, just enjoy being part of the community and you will quickly improve. Once that happens, never assume a poem you write is good just because you’re a good poet. Resist becoming one of the two or three stereotypes society assigns to poets. … Keep reading.