Leland James–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I have a recliner, laptop, and lap board by windows looking out from my cabin into the north woods of northern Michigan, fifty-foot maples on a hillside. The chair is flanked by a desk and a work table within reach. View of fire stove in winter.

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I use a standard laptop with word processing. I love split screen, to compare drafts.

What is your routine for writing?

I rise at around 6 AM. Coffee and news. My wife of 40-odd years gets up later, and we read aloud for a while. Light breakfast and to work for 4 to 6 hours. In afternoon I am in woods with chain saw or on splitter putting up winter’s wood.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

Started writing poetry when I was twelve. That’s about six decades.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I write for people who love and appreciate poetry. Period. I care nothing for what academia thinks, and frankly I find much of what they do and produce a killing influence on poetry in the US. I publish a lot in Europe where more regular people read poetry.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I write because I love it and I have to. It is part and parcel of who I am. As to block. I have a system like the minors for baseball. When I have a poem that is promising but doesn’t make the grade for publication, I send it down to the minors—a file system. At times when I’m not obsessed with an idea, I bring a player up and see if I can bring it along to the majors.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I am pretty much a home body. I read, play with our new puppy…. I do travel, maybe monthly, to do readings at libraries or to attend a reading for a poetry contest I’ve judged. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with readers.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I really can’t say. It’s all one for me. But I do hate, in longer works, formatting.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Don’t take advice.

Check out Leland’s work in Volume 3, Issue 2.

Leland James

Leland James is the author of four books of poetry and a book on poetry craft. He has published over 200 poems in journals and magazines worldwide including The Lyric, Form Quarterly; Rattle, The South Carolina ReviewThe Spoon River Poetry Review; New Millennium Writings; HQ The Haiku Quarterly, and The London Magazine. He was the winner of The UK’s Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, The Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, and the Writer’s Forum short poem contest. He has received honors in many others competitions and was recently nominated for a Push Cart Prize. www.lelandjamespoet.com.

Yesterday’s Balloons, Volume 3, Issue 2