Monday, October 14, 2013

LIFE OF A POET ~ GRAPELING

Kids, you know how, when someone new arrives on the poetry circuit, and writes well, our ears perk up and our antennae stay attuned? That's how it was for me when I first started noticing Grapeling's work. You will have bumped into him around dVerse and more recently at Poets United. This poet, whom we now know as Michael, has recently become a Toad.  So I thought it might be timely to swoop in and learn more about him. Hop aboard. We are headed to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world....Laguna Beach!




Poets United: Michael, so good to meet you! I must ask: why “Grapeling”?




Michael: I mess around with words and sounds, and the word ‘grappling’ somehow popped into my head while I was eating grapes. So in a bizarre word-association – maybe Lola Mouse might have fun with inkblots here – ‘grapeling’ was born. Maybe it’s a little grape, with a long "A". Maybe it’s a misspelled grappling with a short "a". Either way – “it could be that” – which is the secondary tag line on the blog.

I suppose it’s borne from my view that poetry can have more than one sense or meaning, and so twisting spelling, and leaving a little mystery, leaves the reader grappling with the sense of the write. Or they can just go eat some fruit.

P.U.: Cackle. I love it! Tell us about your  part of the world, kiddo. 

Michael: I was born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia – King Tut.

OK not really. Though I was a big Steve Martin fan as a teen. I live in southern California, in the nice little burb called Laguna Niguel, minutes away from Laguna Beach – itself famous for an MTV reality show a few years back - nice beaches, nice overpriced art, and the nice Pageant of the Masters where nice naked people get painted in tableaux reminiscent of master painters. Laguna Niguel is famous for, well, for nothing. We have lots of nice tract homes here. Space is at a premium. I'd love to have more room, and a yard, and a dog. Do I like it in southern California? Well, the weather is nice, and people have nice tans and nice cars. Nice. Such an expressive(less) adjective. My car just turned 205,000 miles. People are more pleasantly authentic elsewhere, I’ve found. But, my kids are here, so here I’ll remain for the time being.


September sunset at Laguna Beach

P.U.: Such a beautiful beach! But your car is a spring chicken; mine has clocked 450,000 km's and still going strong. Go, Toyota!  What does life look like at Michael’s on any given day? I note you work in the financial sector.  Is poetry a welcome departure from what you do at work all day?

Michael: Each day I start by reading the daily Poem-A-Day post in my inbox from Poets.org. My alarm goes off, and I check my phone, and go to that email first. I’ve been doing this for several years now.

Since I co-founded a new company last January with two colleagues, during the week I prepare for business battle. We provide financial advisory and debt placement services for the healthcare sector. Essentially we’re brokers between financial entities like banks and insurance companies that want to lend, but don’t have adequate marketing, and hospitals and physician’s groups that want money, but don’t have adequate contacts or bandwidth to locate the most cost-effective source of funds.

It’s a daily challenge. I speak sales, business development, marketing, finance, strategic planning, and overcome significant obstacles just to gain an audience, let alone make the sale. So, I talk a lot. :)

Poetry is another avenue to convey and conceal meaning, albeit more creatively. If you get too creative in finance, you end up wearing an orange jumpsuit – unless, of course, you’re a master of the universe and work for JPM Chase or WFB or Goldman Sachs. Then you get a ticker tape parade for having fleeced the flock. But I digress.



I’m a divorced father of two boys, one in high school, the other in 7th grade. Smart whippersnappers. I see them 4 or 5 days a week. They keep me (in)sane, which is good.

P.U.: You are a good dad, Michael. Way to be! I was so touched by your post about your beloved black lab’s passing, Love Dog.   Have you always been a dog person?

Michael: I’m too young to remember Happy, the black lab my folks gave away to a farm when I was two. Whether it was a real farm, or the, you know, “farm” – as in bought the farm – Mom won’t say.

Princess, the mix, grew me up until the weekend I graduated from high school, when Mom had her put down (not telling me until after the ceremony so I wouldn’t be a wreck.) We’d get her going by chanting “Mouse, Princess, Mouse!” and she’d tear around the house, sniffing behind the couch and stereo cabinet.

College no pets, just heavy petting. 

Post college, no pets until after buying a house with my (ex) wife. Bumper, the black lab. Ha! She drove to Arizona to rescue a “medium size” dog from a breeder friend of her mom’s. Shows up with a 105-pound stinky 2 year old lab who was f-a-t and smelly and of course I was immediately on the floor with him, after he got a bath. Didn’t chase balls, but loved eating lettuce from the garden. When I held his head close, he smelled of grape Jolly Rancher candy – I can’t explain it. He also ate Vaseline (don’t ask), turtle shells (should have fed him Vaseline after that), and he learned that sports bags often contain snacks, foil be damned. He ruled the couch. Had to put him down one long Memorial Day weekend trip from SoCal to the Bay Area, in a stranger vet’s office - the cancer got him. Held him as he exhaled his last. Driving home, my then 3 year old (now 14) started yelling, ‘We have to go back! We forgot my dog! We have to go back!” I couldn’t see from the tears, and my ex had to restrain him from exiting his car seat. Good old Bumpity-ump.




Jonnie B. Goode, with red sock, and Schooner

Jonnie B Goode was another rescue, about age 1, from the same breeder, a few months after Bumper passed. We swore no more dogs but you know how that goes. JBG loved chasing balls – he’s the one in the poem you linked to. He also ruled the couch. He also got cancer. Damn cancer. Both these boys were papered, but not quite show material. Great pets, though.

Schooner is the latest black lab rescue, still with my boys and ex. He was about 7, and shared time with JBG. There's a photo, JBG on the left, Schooner on the right. Goofballs. He's trained not to get on the furniture. He talks. Mostly he says “pet me” or “feed me”, in dog-eze. When you’re seated, he likes to tunnel under your legs, back and forth. I get to see him when I pick up my sons.

My apartment is not suitable for pets, though Schooner does visit from time to time, like last weekend when his house was flea bombed. Wait a minute. No wonder my ankles have been itching.

I'm a sucker for black labs. Yellow labs. Russell terriers. Mutts. Stinky ole hounds. Whatever breed or mix doesn't much matter. They must know that I'll bother to scratch bellies and ears and butts and backs and necks and chins - I can always wash the stink off later, but dang if that fur doesn't need a good scratch. And that look of pure, unfiltered joy when you get them *right there* and they plop over and make that gravelly sound in their throat, like some dumb cat (not to offend our feline friends), and look at you like, well? Don't stop! This is better than kibble! Maybe not as good as steak, but way better than kibble - so keep scratching. THAT look.

Not much better than that.

I tend to find dogs friendlier, and more honest, than people. Plus, better listeners.

P.U.: I'm so with you on that, kiddo! They have true hearts. Where did you grow up? Is there a story from your childhood that perhaps foreshadowed your becoming a poet?


San Onofre Beach, San Clemente

Michael: Grew up in central coastal California and have always lived near the beach. It was foggy, always. Warm in the summer was 68 F (that's 20 C for you non-Americans.) I grew up next to a public golf course, where I learned to throw a frisbee. In sight from my front lawn, across the fairways, was the town cemetery. The ghosts of Robinson Jeffers and Robert Louis Stevenson, John Steinbeck and Brett Weston the photographer, among others, paid visits. At least, that's the story I'm telling you. :). As kids, we'd have dirt clod wars whenever a fresh grave was dug. The Grapes of Wrath ends up in the Central Valley, not far from fields that grew/grow artichokes today, a few dozen miles from there. Cannery Row was just a tourist trap by the time I was old enough to skateboard around, but Doc Rickett's book "Between Pacific Tides" is still relevant, and those who want a taste of Steinbeck and Ricketts should find a copy of "The Log from the Sea of Cortez".

I grew up reading science fiction (Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, etc.) because my mom and uncles read it; and for the two years the library baby sat me after school I absorbed every book they had on Greek mythology and dinosaurs. I also read Scientific American, Ranger Rick, and National Geographic magazines, and books on astronomy. I thought I'd be some kind of scientist when I grew up. Didn't read poetry, but I spent a lot of time playing in coarse sand under overcast skies at the beach, and looking for the oldest grave - 1880's somewhere beneath the spooky, misty, old cypress trees. At night, the foghorn would sound two blasts, then a minute pause, then two blasts, warning off boats from the rocks, and the sound had to travel across the graveyard to reach the house. So maybe I lived some kind of Poe existence. :)


As to poetry... it turns out I have a knack for eulogies.

First published poem as a sophomore. Mrs. Whitworth, the English teacher, had us keep a journal. I found out my best friend the year before (different high school) had been killed in a car accident. I knew the girl who hit him, she was the older sister of another classmate. Terrible tragedy all around. I wrote a eulogy in the journal. Mrs. Whitworth took it and submitted it to a local poetry mag, it was published, and she told me to go to the bookstore when the mag went on sale. She apologized for doing it – I had no idea – but I was secretly gratified.

Didn’t write much again until I was a freshman mechanical engineering student at Cal Berkeley. (It turns out I wasn't quite suited for that discipline.) The attendant loneliness and being both a misfit and a transient - I started college at 16, and moved 4 times in my first 10 weeks due to a housing snafu - led to me scribbling a boat load of just awful tripe. But, you have to start somewhere, though I gave up on it after a few months. 

(Have you read MyWordPool blog on WP? Natalie is 16 - - she's so good, and so young, better than me now, let alone at 16. Heck, I wouldn't mind if you just interviewed her, and left me on the cutting room floor.) 

P.U.: OMG, I just read her A Poem About Everything and am truly floored!!


Doheny Beach, in Dana Point

Michael: Then there's a slight gap, from 1982 to 1996/97, when I took two night extension writing classes and penned prose for a few months. Then, another hiatus until 2006, when I began writing poetry here and there during the split from my ex. Then another until 2009. Not so much writer's block, as writer's city block, neighborhood, burrough, sub-division, county, state, region, nation... 

But mostly silence - with the notable exception of the eulogy I wrote in 1997 when my daughter died, that I read at her service. I'm posting that poem to my blog concurrently with this interview. There are other eulogies posted to my blog.  (There's one I wrote for my dad here.)

P.U.: Oh Michael, I am so sorry you and your family suffered such a devastating loss. I cant imagine anything harder than losing a child. Might you wish to share the poem you wrote for your daughter?

.....
composed the week following November 10, 1997
originally entitled, How do I Love Thee?
.....
one hundred thirty heartbeats
...
...
three thousand one hundred three grams
one hundred thirty heartbeats
fifty centimeters
forty-three weeks
nineteen hours
3:05 a.m.
two parents
one daughter
more than I can count
now
...
sand castle round my heart
built to keep the deluge out
a wave, a tear, the tide overruns
breath constricts
can’t contain the flood
grains, gallons suffer my lungs
why does beloved depart?
...
she was going to be sweet
as red to a hummingbird
as drawing mud cross her own cheeks
...
she was going to be
iron jewelry strong like her blacksmith mother
quick and quick to laugh as her quicksilver father
...
she was going to
swim the ocean and climb mountains,
flirt shamelessly as only an infant can, collapse
in a bundle of giggles, ignite lip-scorching smiles
...
she was going
before we met, and left before she came
...
she is gone
in body only:
...
joy of her coming is her spirit live on

.....

So mostly, I've kept that stuff inside. I doubt that it was healthy to do so, on a number of levels. As Shrek wisely said, better out than in.

It's only been the last year and a half or so, that I've been consistently penning more than a poem every month or two.

P.U.: Your poem is beautiful, Michael - celebrating all she might have been, and her spirit living on. Thank you for allowing us to read this beautiful eulogy. So, it is totally anti-climactic, now, to ask:  what do you love about poetry? What makes a poem sing for you?

Michael: Oh, sure, Sherry, ask the easy questions. LOL.

I love surprises. Poetry, humor, science – when it shifts my perception, that gets me.

Catalogs of adjectives, not so much. 

I like that people express themselves, even if the specific write travels a well-worn road. So I try to take an alternative perspective, especially with the challenges and prompts. I suppose that might be seen as too "cutesy" by some, but, well, fuck off, you know? LOL. It's my poem and I'll do what I want. And if it's yours, that's your choice ("you" being the completely inadequate pronoun for "someone else".)

P.U.: Well, dont hold back, Michael. Smiles. Is there someone in your life you would say has had a significant influence  on your writing ?

Michael: No.

Of course I’m lying. The first people to differentiate vowels from consonants. The first literate people. I get both encouraged and discouraged by great writing. On the one hand – look at that! It’s beautiful and inspiring! On the other hand – look at that! I’ll never be that good.

I wish I remembered my 5th grade teacher’s name. She had long black hair and glasses, and had to leave before the year-end since her husband got stationed elsewhere. She taught vocabulary from a red-covered book. I realized that I loved words then.

Francesca Lia Block has been influential. We went to Cal at the same time but didn't know one another then. I met her much later. She encouraged me to write as soon as we met in 2007. She's great that way, with people - inspirational, brave, and IMO a magical writer, ostensibly in the YA genre, but much of her work extends far beyond that.

P.U.: How did you stumble upon the poetry blogosphere?  What impact is it having on your work?

Michael: Francesca asked me to participate in an online poetry writing class she taught – I was the sole male. I also participated in her 30-day challenge, where she posted an image or several each day and poets riffed on them. She and I were the only two to post every day. Those poems can be found at her blog, www.loveinthetimeofglobalwarming.blogspot.com, in August/September of 2012. 

Anyways she posted about the NaPoWriMo 30 poems in 30 days challenge early this year, I think in March. In April I posted to the challenge daily, and was totally surprised on day 26 when grapeling was the featured blog of the day at NaPoWriMo. I think Grace /Heaven found me through that? Grace made some nice comments, and I visited her blog, and was blown away by her talent, and then composed and posted a poetic response to her response to a challenge. She then cross-posted my poem to her blog, which Brian Miller read, and he invited me to post at dVerse OLN.

So Grace and Brian, and then Kerry at the Garden, and then others chiming in with supportive comments. I was and continued to be surprised that my little scribbles find willing ears.

I’m learning voice, and diction, and volume, and scarcity, and imagery, and form, and sometimes what doesn’t appeal to me, and that it’s an addiction. Good thing I don’t have a TV – one OCD event a day is quite enough.

Plus, Kerry invited me to be a Toad at imaginary garden with real toads. I guess I need to learn more about this craft. :)

14 year old, first day of braces

P.U.: The blogosphere is just like that! It's pretty cool. Congrats on becoming a Toad! When you aren’t writing poems, what other activities might we find you involved in?

Michael: Wait, there’s something else besides writing poetry?

Seriously?

:)

I'm pretty mundane. Boring, really. I play Frisbee with my kids. We watch movies. In the summer I take them to the beach or to their pool. I perform research for my company. I read way too much poetry on the web. LOL. I practice yoga. I volunteer at a local non-profit that provides education on sustainability – which is quite a message in conservative Orange County. I used to volunteer as a tidepool docent but haven’t in a while. OK, I need to start that again.


12 year old, eating something or other

P.U.: Yay for helping the cause of sustainability, kiddo! And for being a good dad. Is there a connection between music and poetry for you?

Michael: I play the radio. All lyrics are poems, and I like listening, but don’t seek it out.

P.U.: Do you write prose as well?  Any plans in that direction?

Michael: Some prose can be found on my Blogger blog, mostly about my grandmother. I’ve threatened to write for 25 years but always found some lame excuse or another not to.

P.U.: Are you happy with how your work has developed over the past year?

Michael: Poets aren’t allowed to be happy, it messes with the anguish.

Well, hmm. I dunno. I guess I’d have to go back and read the old stuff. That can be painful. So, yes?


Crescent Bay, Laguna


P.U.: What are your  hopes for your writing over the next few years? Any goals, or are you just happy to be writing?

Michael: Sore subject. Writing isn’t monetarily useful but it sure is addictive. I don’t do genre stuff, like another friend I met ages ago in the extension class, who has carved a niche in female erotica. So I guess for now, just writing, no plans. Except the secret ones, but, well, we’ll see.

P.U.: Do you have a poem, written by you, that you think is representative of you? (or one you think you wrote especially  well?) 

Michael: Ha! No. But be my guest. :)

Sip/22


Let’s remain
quiet while the sun rises
and the whistling warblers commune;
we’ll sip in unison: they, nectar, we, coffee
which of course is nectar too
await the dew’s ascent into mist,
feel the slow heat and bright
into morning.
Today, I’ll wait
for you, for the days to trundle by,
wait for you to quiet
and listen for the song
birds sing
wait for heat, bright, wait
to sip the song from the silence
P.U.: Sigh.  I love that one. Do you have any causes you are passionate about?

Michael: The best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity.

- WB Yeats, The Second Coming

P.U.: Ha! Is there anything else you’d like to say to the members of Poets United?

Michael: Hmm. Soapbox!

Words mean things, so be concise, especially when you intend to be murky. 

Show, don’t tell.


Beware of ‘heart’, ‘soul’, and ‘spirit’ in your writes. That’s telling, not showing. Those words are already tropes / metaphors, and have their own voluminous set of definitions and connotations. Larding them in doesn’t add to delicacy; they’re way too salted already.
Once you’ve posted, if you don’t like it, edit. Or remove it. Whatever. It’s not rocket science.
Only offer advice when asked, but be authentic in your praise or comments.
Oh, I prefer Wordpress' “like” system to Blogger. Sometimes I have nothing to add but do want the writer to know I’ve visited, and the ‘like’ button accomplishes that.

P.U.: Great advice, kiddo. Thank you so much for this visit. We look forward to enjoying much more of your work. 


There you have it, kids, another intriguing and talented poet, another wayfarer on the poetry trek. Living, as you can see, in some pretty spectacular scenery! Come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


54 comments:

  1. Thank you Sherry for this interesting interview of Michael ~

    I stumbled on his work during April daily challenge & was struck by his writing (yes, I can tell he has a way with words) ~ I noted though that there are no comments or links to his blog so I invited him to join up with poetry communities ~ And I am happy to see his interaction with other bloggers, always leaving kind & inspiring comments ~

    M - the picture of your boys and dogs adorable ~ I have read your prose and you are also adept in that form ~ The ones written for your daughter and father are specially touching ~

    Grace

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know Michael to be a very private person, so I am amazed at how much info Sherry has managed to get out of him :)

    Nice to know a bit more about the man behind the poetry. I am a big fan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing I enjoy more than hearing someone's story:)

      Delete
    2. as you noted, Kerry, poet on the half-shell - I peeked out a bit. Sherry is quite adept!

      Delete
  3. The grape man is truly fab. He really reads things and leaves the coolest comments in addition to being an interesting and talented writer himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shay, your writes inspire elevated commentary. You're never tepid, but most intrepid. Maybe I could make a haiku from that. :)

      Delete
  4. Hey Michael, so good to know your name. Smiles. I've always enjoyed your poetry, and it was great to learn more of your story. Thanks, Sherry, foe the scoop!!~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary. Love what you do with Poets United.

      Delete
  5. its nice to get to know you better michael...def some hard points in life...the breaking off with the ex...and the death of your daughter...dang...ugh...one of my greatest fears man...painful...i am glad you have words...and glad to know a bit more about the man behind them...and ha, i love the fuck off...smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved that too, Brian - the f. off. Cool! And the poem to your daughter is heartrendingly beautiful, Michael. The hardest thing anyone can ever go through.

      Delete
    2. Brian, I *tried* to edit the f-bomb out but no, Sherry the editor has the last word! As far as the rest... every one of us who writes, has some impetus. It's been good to share - and I appreciate all you do with dVerse, and Sherry with PU - you're both so encouraging by example and commentary.

      Delete
  6. Enjoyed that interview. I like "show don't tell" I will have to think about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the "show, dont tell" too.....and wish I remembered that advice oftener:) Nice to see you, Sam!

      Delete
  7. Sherry, thank you :) I thought you were going to edit out the f-bomb! You are a most hospitable host, and I'm grateful. Cheers ~ M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I need to be clued in or have things "gently suggested", as I tend to just go with the flow, hee hee. I have a hard time cutting anything, because it is all just so interesting. And the A Bit Out There stuff is good for a smile, too!

      Delete
  8. Good to know Grapeling a.k.a. Michael! :) I have seen his prompts too at IGRT. Thanks! Sherry. You truely have an eye picking up wonderful people for the spotlight!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Michael I love your voice! Poets aren't meant to be happy-yes there is truth in this view. Our word mysteries cascade fragments from of our inner world.

    I am sorry to hear of your loss-no words can capture this. Her spirit does live on in your family and you.

    I love the f bomb-it wakes us up~

    Wonderful interview Sherry n' Michael-so nice to see beyond your voice~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ella, that was tongue in cheek. I think! I'm thankful Sherry likes to let the answers meander ~

      Delete
  10. Thanks for this interview, Sherry and Michael. I've been enjoying Grapeling's poems and comments to the point of seeking him out when I cannot read the whole list. Eyes and attention only allow me so much, but poetry has gotten me reading again, and yours, Michael, has an economy and diction together with mood that draws me in. Welcome to these web groups. Oh--seems to me your life is full, not mundane and boring (unless you are bored). The ministry of raising children and partnering with dogs in a landscape which contrasts a small apartment with a place like Crescent Bay? And film to the world? So much! I'm happy to read some of your story,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, sorry to say I had no dogs when I lived near Crescent Bay (a cove in north Laguna Beach) - they abide with my kids and ex in a nearby town. Thank you for your kind words - I know what you mean, only so much attention (how Brian does it - a yeoman's work) ~

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Cheong, had to try and not mark an "E" to shout back at you :)

      Delete
  12. Sherry - Michael, loved this ... loved your piece about your dog. Nice to meet you (you give good writing advice). Liz (old dog lover of old dog and young dog and 2 bad/fat cats, one 20 pounds and the little one 14 pounds). Sherry this was a great interview!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heck, Liz, I have a friend whose recently dearly departed cat tipped out at 28 pounds! And he wasn't even obese- just big. :)

      Delete
  13. Really quite enjoyable! Yes, you have lived through some of people's worst fears and survived - and I think your poetry shows lots of heart & soul because of it. ... (this isn't poetry so I think it is OK to use those terms) Fascinating to meet the man behind "Grapeling" and I look forward to reading many new poems. Thanks, Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I use them, too, but sparingly. Just for kicks look for one of those words soon.

      Delete
  14. great interview..and cool to get to know you a bit better michael... tears again when i read about your girl's death... glad you were able to put some of the pain and love into words.. when i was in california i once made it to laguna beach..but only to the airport when i went to san francisco for the weekend...love the californian beaches...and yes.. dogs are def. fantastic listeners... my favs are golden retrievers..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's 30 Celsius today by the beach, Claudia. October is the best month to travel - no tourists, and an excellent chance for superb weather.

      Delete
  15. Michael, wonderful meeting you in more detail. Enjoyed all, but especially the dog love....which I an definitely empathize with. Sorry about the loss of your daughter...ever so hard. Glad you found poetry, and I I always enjoy your words. Sherry, great interview once again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given your icon is a sweet pup, Mary, I can see! Sherry does a fantastic job, she does. :)

      Delete
  16. Cool to get to know you better M. I enjoy your work--looking forward to reading more. Great interview Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer :) Thanks for reading - and the feeling is mutual

      Delete
  17. I only recently discovered Michael through the Imaginary Garden. Reading his story puts his poetry into perspective. Sorry about your loss, Michael. Your poems are emotive.

    Lovely interview, Sherry, as always. Looking forward to read more of Michael's poetry--see you around in the blogosphere. Smiles :)

    P.S. I agree about "show, don't tell"-- I was always given this advice by English teachers. It makes writing "visual" and appealing to all the senses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my touchstones, if not always successful. Thanks, Loredana ~

      Delete
  18. Yes, I agree on the WP "like" button and the reasoning, too...like now, now I'd click a "like" for certain bc I'd want you to know I was here and read every word...riveted...yet I don't really know what to say specifically! Really an excellent interview...Thank you for sharing your life with us, Michael and thank you , Sherry for your expert interviewing skills!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Hannah, I always appreciate your posts and your prompts at Real Toads.

      Delete
  19. Very cool interview, Sherry. And thanks, Michael, for sharing. Really enjoyed. Always fun to see what poets are made of...beyond the angst. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. why, sugar and spice and puppy dog tails and snails and... nothing rhymes with angst. Spanx? Thanks? OK - I'll go with thanks :)

      Delete
  20. Thanks Sherry and Michael. I always wondered about 'grapeling'. Glad to find out here.

    I think all of us sometimes wander alone in the blogosphere, writing for so long until we find a home…

    And yes, thank you for teachers like Mrs Whitworth. What a perfect name…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and she was a gentle and caring teacher, too.

      Delete
  21. nice, Michael. field trip in Laguna Beach! I'll be right over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. surf's up, Marian - come on down. you have a Gidget outfit? perfect surfwear.

      Delete
  22. LTTP here Michael, but glad I made it--those selected poems are particularly strong.It was more than interesting and better than fun reading about you, and learning your nautilus curves from tiny creature to fibonacci-spiralled poet. We all have so many hidden sorrows, and joys--they seep out in our poems, so I suppose the 'in not out' serves that purpose, anyway, but I kind of agree with you and Shrek, too. Thanks to you and to the always interviewer par excellence, Sherry Blue Sky, for this trip through the personal tidepools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I value your comments, Joy - always thoughtful, frequently wry, and typically expansive. The tidepools hide many secrets ~

      Delete
  23. I landed on your blog & your poems left me in awe....you have such expressive way of writing! Thanks for interview Sherry. I often wonder what the name behind the blog means.....Grapeling.....cool.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wonderful interview; very engaging personality. Somehow I've managed to miss getting to know this poet's work — but shall certainly be making up for lost time!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Late getting here after reading the sidebar at Toads. So glad I did. Sherry does have a way of bringing out a poet's true self with her well-disguised questions. They look so innocuous until we respond to them, and discovered we've bared our souls.
    So nice to meet you "in person" here, Michael. Pseudonymous is handy much of the time, but your fellow poets (especially the Toads) want to know more.
    Luv, Kay (the joker in the pack)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Late getting here, too. I really enjoy what you do, Michael. And, I always love me some concise!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great interview! I like your poem about your daughter. It resonates very deeply with me.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is WAY beyond intriguing! Captivating is more like it.

    Michael's advice (when possible, eliminate "the" from your poetry keeps me on the straight and narrow.

    ReplyDelete