Everyone who reads this blog and my personal one knows how much I love New Orleans. I’ve lived here now for 32 years – longer than I’ve lived anywhere – and consider it my forever home. My favorite thing about living here is that there’s always something new or unique to learn about this city of ours. I truly believe that no one that lives here – even if your family has been here since the beginning of time – knows everything there is to know about the city and the culture. It’s just not possible. And that’s a part of the beauty of this place, the fact that each new person you befriend has a piece of that puzzle that is our culture and history and you can learn something new or see a new perspective you may never have imagined before.
That’s how I’m feeling about New Orleans writer Susan Prevost, our Femme Fatale for this Friday post. I knew we had a thriving community of writers and poets in NOLA but it always seemed out of reach to me. I’ve read about the writers of 17 Poets who meet and read at The Goldmine Saloon and about the open mike readings at The Maple Leaf but I’ve never been nor have known anyone personally who’s been a part of that scene. To be honest, I’ve been pretty busy working most of my life here and, even though I write as a hobby, I just haven’t had the time to pursue any of the avenues open here to those with a literary bent. (It even sounds weird to my ears to refer to myself as having a “literary bent” – lol.) That’s where the internet, and my recent retirement, comes into play. Now that I have the time to blog, write and read more I’ve met many new people, via the internet, who share my interests – Susan being one of those people. She was gracious enough to leave a comment on my personal blog, almost a year ago now, inviting me to submit to her website, New Orleans Write Spot , which she described as “our New Orleans writers’ community blog”. I’ve been reading it ever since and recently did submit a couple of poems. I have to admit it took me a while to summon the courage to do so because, well, I’m a fledgling poet and only recently found an online group of writers that have made me feel like maybe my writing is ok enough to share. And, of course, Susan’s acceptance and publishing of my work has made me feel even stronger. For that I thank her.
So – long rambling story short – if you’re a NOLA writer and/or poet – or a reader! - get thee to the Write Spot and join in the fun. It’s a great website with a supportive and creative feeling for writers plus you get to read the work of your fellow New Orleanians and what could be better than that?
And now for our interview with today’s Femme Fatale, Susan Prevost.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to choose this craft?
I’ve been writing since about the age of ten—off and on.
Is poetry your primary genre? Do you work in any others?
I’ve written short fiction and some essays as well.
What is your earliest recollection of writing and poetry as a passion? Do you remember your first poem?
I wrote my first real poem at about the age of 15. It was about Georgia O’Keefe and New Mexico. It was a dream poem about escaping into the future, I guess.
Is writing your full-time occupation?
No, I must eat. I’m an English teacher too. I actually like having a life outside of writing. Some of my best poems are about teaching.
I’m always interested in how other writers write, that is, do you ponder a poem for a while, keeping it in a draft stage and working on it periodically or do you write it all at once, as the inspiration and words strike you? How much editing do you do on a piece?
Lately, I’ve not been editing much at all. I’ve been allowing the inspiration to create the piece. However I’ve labored over poems in the past, sometimes for over a decade.
Do you have a favorite place to write that’s particularly conducive to your creativity?
Mostly my favorite place to write is inside my sunlit bedroom or on my front porch with my old lumpy dog at my feet breathing heavily.
Do you have any tips you can share regarding motivation and/or discipline in completing a piece?
I really can’t speak about being disciplined but the act of seeking my truth has always motivated me to write.
Who’s work has inspired yours?
I’m inspired by contemporary writers like Sharon Olds, Mark Doty, Tess Gallagher and the late James Carver.
I find it impossible to name one poet who is my favorite – I have several. Who are some of your favorite poets and/or poems?
All of the above and William Carlos Williams and Theodore Roethke (My Papa’s Waltz)
Where do you see yourself with regard to your writing in 5 years?
I’d like to compile some of my poems into a book.
Please share some of your favorite poetry and writing places in New Orleans and on the internet.
Well, what could be better than the Goldmine Saloon on a Thursday night? I fantasize about writing at the Napoleon House.
Thank you, Susan, for sharing your thoughts with our readers!