An Interview with Heather Grace Stewart

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Leap, from the author of Where the Butterflies Go, is available for purchase at Lulu.com and Amazon stores worldwide.
It’s also available on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, and where all fine ebooks are sold. You can also order an autographed copy via Paypal. Contact the author at writer@hgrace.com. Half the proceeds from sales go to Hearts for Change – an Educational Project for orphaned children in Kenya.


Here’s an interview with the author from 2010:

Questions for a Poet, As Put to Seamus Heaney

Q: Some years ago, Seamus Heaney told an English journalist: “My notion was always that, if the poems were good, they would force their way through.” Is this now your experience?

HGS: Absolutely. Sometimes it comes through in a matter of minutes; other times, I write down a few lines, and the rest follows maybe a day or a few weeks later. But if it’s good, it all ends up on the page…and then typed into a document in my “Poetry in the works” file on my computer, and then, if I still like it after I’ve lived with it a couple weeks, I put it into a “Poetry to publish” file.

Q: Over the years, Heaney often quoted Keats’s observation, “If poetry comes not as naturally as leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.” Is that just a young poet’s perspective?

HGS: I think so. It doesn’t always come naturally to me. Sometimes I just need to sit down and force myself to write. Stop listening to the whining voice; shut it out, and just “do it.”

Q: Does this mean that a poem essentially begins for you when you find a form?

HGS: A poem essentially begins for me when I’ve found my voice for it; the form takes shape with the voice.

Q: Is there a poetry time of day and a prose time of day?

HGS: Used to be I used my early mornings for poetry and at sunset, and prose anytime, but now that I am a mother, it’s when I have a notepad, pen, and that spare minute when I’m not being asked to wipe a bum or put Barbie’s head back on.

Q: I remember Anne Yeats saying that her father mumbled to himself when he started to write. Would the Stewart household know that a poem was coming on?

HGS: In my household my hubby can usually tell a poem (for kids or adults) is being born if he comes home at 6:30 p.m. and DD is beside me doing a puzzle; a grilled cheese or rice is burning on the stove, and I’m soaking wet; just out of the shower in a towel with a focused look on my face, typing at the computer, “Just a minute, honey I have this idea…” And he’s so cool about that. He’s used to me by now. Now my daughter’s getting in on it, too. She looks at my face sometimes and says, “Mommy, what? Do you have an idea? Tell me, tell me, what is it? ” I try hard to be in the moment with her as often as I can, but the kid is smart, she’s onto me…so I usually end up spilling, because I don’t like to talk down to her, and sometimes, just by explaining it to her, she helps me better formulate the idea. Just wait, you guys are going to love our kids poem, ‘Cats Can’t Cook!’

Q: Do you ever feel burdened by the sheer amount of work you know it will require to do justice to a particular inspiration?

HGS: All the time. All the time. Right now, I’m trying to write a poem that’s going to do justice to this amazing group of people I’ve met online, and become close to over a year and a bit. Some might guffaw that you can make special friendships online. I beg to differ. I don’t know how I’m going to write something that truly speaks to this experience I’ve had. I think maybe they’ll help me somehow, because a lot of them are writers…actually, I’ve dedicated LEAP in part to them.

Q: How can you tell a poem is finished?

When it stops shouting at me. ;-)

Q: Do you keep a notebook of phrases and images for later use?

HGS: I have several notebooks, with penned poems/ ideas to type out later, and my images are saved on the computer by date.

Q: Does the poem come more quickly if there is a form? Would you be offended to be called a formalist?

HGS: I don’t think anyone would call me a formalist, but I definitely use techniques. Just not formally. Okay, seriously now, I’ve written haiku, tanka,
and Villanelles, using proper form. I just don’t like being weighed down by form. As Frank sang, I’ll do it my way ;)

Q: Do you have a preference for pararhymes and half rhymes over full rhymes?

HGS: I only use rhyme when it will only come to me that way, and even then, I hesitate to use it. I have to think about it first. I ask myself, is this form going to help the message or hinder it?

Q: Are you a poet for whom the sound the words make is crucial?

HGS: It’s all about sound for me. I love alliteration. Sometimes a poem starts out with words that sound great together; they just come to me and I have to write them down. For instance, I was walking to a Queen’s University class at 8 a.m. one rainy spring day in Kingston, and couldn’t get this line out of my head: ‘These are the days, quickly melting away,” (from the poem EQUINOX). The poem took off from there.

Q: Would you accept Eliot’s contention that the subject matter is simply a device to keep the reader distracted while the poem performs its real work subliminally?

HGS: To some extent. But I don’t do it on purpose. It must be subliminal. ;)

Q: What role does humor play in your poetry?

HGS: I don’t try to be funny. I don’t try to be anything. I just write the way I think, and I think people find my honesty refreshing and humorous.

Q: What are your thoughts about accessibility and obscurity in poetry?

HGS: Accessibility is probably my trademark: something I’m proud of and at the same time it’s my tragic flaw, if you will, because I’m so accessible, many journals wouldn’t be interested. I’ve managed to get several respected online journals interested, and printed ones in the UK, and even a Canadian textbook company sought me out. I’ve been published in international anthologies, including a very special one memorializing 911–Babylon Burning, edited by the great Canadian poet Todd Swift–and in a few print journals in Canada, but not the most “elite” ones–the ones that have been around almost 100 years. I’ve kind of given up trying because I don’t think it’s that important to me any more. I want to touch real people’s lives; not just the academics. I want to write something that might comfort a stay-at-home mom or a couple struggling with their love/ marriage or a depressed person looking for a glimmer of hope in a fast-paced world. I think the people I’m trying to reach are more likely to happen upon my poetry on the Net, not so much in the special collections rooms of their libraries. I know that people can understand my poetry without having to go look in some reference book (except for the odd references I make to items in the news, and even then I try not to be obscure) and that’s quite odd. But I can’t change the way I write. I guess I’m destined to be a Fridge Poet – the one that makes it to everyone’s fridge beside their kids’ finger paintings. And at the same time, to help a few children in third-world countries get the education they wouldn’t otherwise get. That’s just fine with me.

Q: And the avant-garde?

HGS: I’d love to be avant-garde. I’d love to be Avant anything. Ahead by a Century. That’s cool. I think some of my poems are there (for instance, my collection Leap features the concept of the Status Update as poetry), others, not so much, and I guess we’ll see which ones stand the test of time in 100 years. Well, no, unless I live to be 137, I guess I won’t see that. But whether they’re set in a classic or innovative style, as long as my words can touch a few people’s hearts along the way…for me, that’s really all that matters.

Thanks for reading! —Heather Grace Stewart

About these ads

November’s Sky

Image

November's Sky

November’s Sky

Meet me under November’s sky,
Where you and I are free to fly;
Where time and place do not exist;
Meet me here; do not ask why.

No rules, routines, and not one list,
Just you and I; a gentle breeze;
We’ll walk the woods where we first kissed.
No where to be; no one to please.

We’ll reminisce; we’ll laugh with ease,
You’ll say I still have days like these.
So say farewell, love of my life.
But kiss me here, beneath the trees.

Meet me under November’s sky,
Where you and I are free to fly;
Where you and I age like fine wine.
Meet me here. One last time.

FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK BOOKS!

Yup, you read that right. I love giving my books away, especially when I can sign them and ship them right to your door.  If you live in Canada, the US, the UK or Australia, this is your chance to sign up for a free copy of Three Spaces AND, included in the package, a free copy of my 2012 collection, Carry On Dancing. Hey, when I do things, I don’t do ‘em small :)

I’m really excited about this giveaway. Please do share about it – let’s give thousands of people who think they don’t like poetry a chance for me to prove them wrong!

My Goodreads Giveaway:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/49443-carry-on-dancing

Please don’t forget to add my books to your “To Read” shelf if you sign up for this giveaway. Thanks!

Love,
Heather

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Making Space for Accessible Poetry

February 15, 2013

Canadian Poet Heather Grace Stewart launches her fourth poetry collection, Three Spaces

Three Spaces is a ‘brave new collection’ of poetry, prose and photography from Amazon and iBooks Canada bestselling-poet and journalist Heather Grace Stewart.  It examines themes within three spaces of our society: public space, personal space, and cyberspace.
“I wanted to put out a collection that was a reflection of our society today, of how we’re trying to balance our  public lives with our lives in cyberspace, all while trying to maintain some privacy in our personal lives,’ Heather explains.

“There are dark and intense poems that start this collection, but then I move into tender, humorous poetry and prose to lighten the mood, and colourful images that can provide space for introspection,” Heather explains. “As always, I try to give my poetry substance, but make it accessible. I don’t want my readers scratching their heads or pulling their hair out after reading one of my poems! I want them to relate in some way. I’d like for them to walk away from the experience of reading this book feeling moved, energized and entertained.”

Early reviewers describe Three Spaces as ‘inspiring’ ‘heartfelt,’ ‘professional’ and ‘modern.’ Best-selling Author Elisa Lorello (Faking It, Adulation) writes,

“Buy this book. Get hooked. Add it to your space. You won’t be disappointed.”

Three Spaces is available now in Kindle Stores Worldwide, including Canada, USA & India, the UK, Germany, and many other countries, as well as on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, and many other epub readers.

It will be available in print on Amazon and in bookstores in April, IF there is enough initial interest (at least 100 requests ) to warrant the production costs.

Heather will appear at Chapters Pointe Claire, Quebec on April 14th to celebrate National Poetry Month and to read from Carry On Dancing and a Kobo version of Three Spaces on her Kobo for IPad app.

Heather’s poems have been published in Canadian literary journals, newspapers and magazines, nation-wide school textbooks, international print anthologies, online journals, and in the British small presses. She was awarded Queen’s University’s McIlquham Foundation Prize in English Poetry (1995) and the UK journal Various Artists’ Poet’s Poet Award in 2008 and 2012.

Her third collection of poetry and photos, Carry On Dancing (Winter Goose Publishing, 2012)  hit #1 on Amazon Canada’s Bestselling Poetry list in April 2012, and stayed there for several weeks. It’s now topping the Canadian Kindle Bestselling Poetry charts along with Where the Butterflies Go.

Her second collection of poetry and photos, Leap (Graceful Publications, 2010), has been described as a “lovely lilt of language,” and, “a must for new and already hooked fans,” by reviewers. Where the Butterflies Go (Graceful Publications, 2008), was reviewed as “whirlwind poetry that never hesitates…always delightful and rarely what you expect. We need poetry like this.”

Heather is also a children’s poet, and enjoys screenwriting. The Groovy Granny (2012 Kindle version; Special Audio Version on iBooks) and The Friends I’ve Never Met (Romantic Comedy screenplay, 2012) are her best-selling Kindle books.

Her photographs have appeared in Equinox and National Geographic Traveler among others, and on the cover of over a dozen poetry books.

Born in Ottawa, Canada, she lives with her husband and daughter near Montreal. In her free time, she loves to take photos, scrapbook, cartoon, inline skate, dance like nobody’s watching, and eat Swedish Berries — usually not all at the same time.

Three Spaces

When I’m missing you

When I’m missing you, I walk to the river’s edge. Frozen or free-flowing, it soothes me;
sends me back to our small adventures. Stargazing. Fireflies. All-day swimming.
Long goodbyes. No matter how cold it is outside, our summers warm me,
and we’re together again.

Winter walk copyright Heather Grace Stewart

Posted for tonight’s dVerse poets Open Link Night http://dversepoets.com/ come join us!

iLike myPoetry in iTunes!

If you’d told me a decade ago if I’d have my own publishing company, I’d have never believed it.

If you’d told me I’d have my poetry collection in a bookstore in an online music store run by the guy who started Apple computers, I’d have wondered what you were drinking. Then, I’d ask you to pour me some, too.

I’ve only had iced tea today, so I know I’m really seeing what I’m seeing: my book ‘Leap,’ has been launched in the ibookstore of itunes–so you can read it on your ipad, ipod, iphone, and more! Take a look:

Leap in the ibookstore at itunes

I used to balk at the thought of reading poetry on any digital device, but you readers have told me time and time again how my words have affected you in big and small ways (thanks so much for telling me, by the way, and for sharing my poems with others, on both special and sombre occasions.) So, I’ve come to the conclusion that if the poetry comes to you in a hardcover, paperback, on an ipad, an ipod, an iphone, your Mac, PC, Blackberry, Sony reader, or the very latest ‘it’ tablet (which according to my engineering hubby is the Asus Eee Pad transformer) as long as the message gets to you, it doesn’t matter how you’re receiving it.

So, go ahead. Take the ‘Leap’ into reading poetry as an epub, and when you do, please LIKE it on FB, and give me a star rating and a short review – those really help spread the word.

If you’re not sure about jumping into this sea of ebooks yet, perhaps trying mine first would be a good way to dip your toes in the water. You can download a free Adobe Digital Editions ereader for your Mac or PC right here Leap the epub for Mac, PC, and ereaders on Lulu.com When you download the epbub -a very easy process – you can read it on that, as well as on a variety of devices like the Blackberry, Sony reader, and other cool tablets.

Poetry isn’t going away – not by a long shot. It’s changing with the times, boldly accommodating itself to new technologies—and coming out cooler than ever. What’s not to LIKE! about that?

Leaping into the itunes ibookstore, June 9, 2011

Poet Dave Whippman

GOOD COPY

Auden was wrong: sometimes the world can
Stop, watch and wait, hold its collective breath
After some outrage of nature or Man.
There is no equality in death
But hierarchy; grief is sorted.
Two minutes observed silence for some,
The rest unspectacular, unreported -
For most of us, tragedy will come
Privately: the policeman at the door
Bringing terrible but personal news.
If, as the victim, you want something more,
You need numbers, and photographic views:
Towns ruined by bomb or wave, something scenic.
Grief, to be shared, must be photogenic.
____________________________________________
Dave Whippman is a UK poet and prose writer. He lives in the north of England.
________________________________________

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