November 16, 2007
Friends On Friday Presents : K. R. Copeland
Today we will be celebrating the works of K. R. Copeland. She is a writer, a poet, an editor (thank you very much), artist and a friend.
You are a celebrated poet and writer. When did your voice come alive? Did you nurture it or was it a lifeline; something you had to do to live? Have you always felt it?
I remember as a small child being entirely mesmerized by the polysyllabic fodder on the nightly news programs my parents watched. It was as if the correspondents were speaking in some strange tongue, some secret language. I knew I HAD to one day know all the fabulous words they so freely flung. Thus, my lexiconic love affair was born.
I began reading voraciously…children’s books, newspapers, the dictionary (yes, the dictionary). I was especially fond of poetry, Shel Silverstein’s, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and anything Seuss. I began to develop an ear and an appreciation for the musicality of language.
In fourth grade, we had to write some story or another, though I’ll be darned if I can recall the topic. What I DO recall, was my teacher, Mrs. Ambercrombie, taking me aside and praising me for my writing ability. She also encouraged me to continue to hone my talents; I’ll never forget that, and to this day, credit her with inspiring me to write on. During my teen years I wrote poetry prolifically, although, looking back on it, it was your typical angst-ridden drivel. I didn’t start to actually study craft until in my twenties. I read every poetry handbook known to man, ingested volumes and volumes of poetry, both the classics and contemporary, and began participating in critical forums, all of which were invaluable.
I began submitting poems for publication roughly 7 years ago. At that time, I also volunteered as a poetry judge for the literary magazine, Beginnings. I did that for a few years and once I had several publication credits under my belt, then began getting my chapbook, “Anatomically Correct” together, which was published by Dancing Girl Press, a small, independent press, right here in Chicago, owned and operated by fellow poet, Kristy Bowen. I have had umpteen poems published, both here in the U.S. and abroad, and am in the process of putting together another compilation. I also volunteer as Art Director for the political lit-zine, Unlikely 2.0. and act as co-administrator of an online poetry discussion group, A Wild Iris Poetry.
How do you incorporate who you are literary wise with who you are as a mom, wife, and sister?
Sometimes it is hard to be a passionate incantation while you have life responsibilities, tell us how you handle your calling.
I’m not entirely certain my writing life permeates these relationships, except for the fact that I try to instill a love of literacy in my kids. I run stuff by them, (which often times goes over their heads), and they humor me. We read together daily and, during poetry month, I even got my daughter to commit to writing a poem a day, which was wonderful! They have been terrifically understanding and patient with me (as has my husband) if I’m working on something, as I can become utterly engrossed when the muse is present, putting everything else on the back burner. Luckily, I have been able to stay at home the past couple years making it less of a balancing act.
How does writing make you feel? You once said " I have been entranced, awed, and utterly consumed by the written word, by the infinite possibilities language allows." Tell us about this deeply personal and profound revelation.
Writing, as it has been said, is a lot like giving birth (only much less painful). I view each of my poems as an extension of myself. The process is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. I love the daunting task of putting pen to paper and the very act of creating something from nothing, never really knowing ahead of time what the end product will be. It is in fact a passion, and something I’d not choose to relinquish. My goal, first and foremost, is to entertain, to dispel the preconceived notion many have about poetry (having been forced to read the often vapid, academic works) and also to be an integral part of what I only hope will be a widespread resurgence of and affinity for the written word.
Thanks K.R.!!! We will be printing more works of K.R.'s soon!!