Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Life of a Poet - Rene Foran

Well, kids, it must be Wednesday because here we are again. This time we are meeting with the humorous and entertaining Rene Foran of Not the Rockefellers...........Rene is a busy working mom, with a great sense of humour, who has been hanging out at Poets United since its early days. In  Rene's writing, I have encountered a humble and honest heart, and a very endearing quirkyness. Check out On Blogging, for Rene's heartfelt thoughts on blogging.  This is a girl who comes from the heart, a woman who knows how to love. Gather round, kids. You're gonna love her.
Poets United: Rene, it is so nice of you to take the time to talk with us. I’m curious, my mom’s name was Renee, sometimes Rene with an do you pronounce your name?
Rene: It’s pronounced Ree Knee. It’s confusing because it’s the male version of Renee. People always want to stick an extra e on me! :)

Poets United: Including me! I have been creeping about your blog, and have come across some hilarious gems of yours. You have a wicked sense of humor. I so love that about you!

Rene: Thanks. I come from a loud, funny family. It’s no surprise that it spills over into my writing.
Poets United: Would you like to relay the story behind the name of your blog here for anyone who has missed your About Me page? My mom often said that too: “We’re not the Rockefellers, you know.”
Rene: Actually I was inspired by my husband for that title. It’s his knee jerk response to the slightest bit of extravagance...and getting a bit of time to write or spend time on the computer around here is a big extravagance time-wise!
Poets United: Would you like to set the scene for us: where  you live, who makes up your family?
Rene: I live in Southern New Hampshire with my husband and daughter. We have no pets, though my daughter would dearly love a dog.  My husband has never owned a pet so it’s a bit difficult to get him on board with owning one.
Poets United: Tell him he would likely wind up loving the dog the most, once he had one. Do you have a day job, besides being a busy mom?
Rene: By day I am a fearless kindergarten aide.
Poets United: Oh, how cool! That is such a great way to spend one’s day, with little voyagers. How do you manage to find time to write? I like what you wrote about your blog being “my great escape tunnel, carved out one spoonful at a time.”
Rene: I don’t manage to find time, that’s the problem! But I always have something going on in my head though, something I’m picking up, putting down and throwing into shape. To be honest it’s the hardest thing for me to do, just sit down and write, either there is just too much noise, the game is on or I just am not in the right frame of mind. I do make myself sit down once a week, whether I like it or not.
Poets United: Well, you write wonderfully, when you do get the chance!  I note you had a poem published in Jack & Jill when you were seven. That is remarkable! I am way impressed, I loved that magazine when I was a kid. So have you always written?
Rene: Ha! I forgot I put that in there. Yes I did. It was a haiku about summer that my teacher just loved. She suggested I send it to Jack & Jill and they published it. I can’t remember how it went but I’m sure my mom still has a copy of it somewhere.
Poets United: Was your writing encouraged by your teachers?
Rene: Yes, because they made me write, and write and re-write.
Poets United: Have you always been a reader? It seems writers are always big readers. Favorite book of all time?
Rene: I do love to get lost in a book. My problem is that a book can consume me! When I was a kid, I plowed through the Little House series and was greatly disappointed when I reached the last book. What?! No more? But the book that has made the greatest, most lasting impression on me is the Diary of Anne Frank. I read it when I was roughly her same age. Though our circumstances were not the same, I really felt a kinship with Anne. She taught me to see the beauty in all things.
see the beauty in all things
Right now I’m reading “The Year Of Living Biblically” by A.J. Jacobs. All I can say is God bless his wife, Julie. She has the patience of Job.
Poets United:  Whoa! I didn't know my ex had written a book!
Rene: As far as poetry, I love Mary Oliver. The way she twirls her words makes me want to sing!
Poets United:  Mary Oliver is my very favorite poet – she writes what I feel, about nature, and life.  When did you start writing in earnest? What does writing mean to you now?
Rene: In some ways I was always writing, in my head, in notebooks, I  just didn’t publish anything.
 I learned about blogging around 2008 or so and discovered Blogspot...and it was I just dove in. Writing to me is and probably will always be a hobby. I like that I can pick it up and put it down and that I don’t have to manage a brand. It’s precious to me, and I think if I were forced to do it every day I would not like it so much.
Poets United: You will be so grateful for having recorded these busy years,  looking back one day when you're my age. Never stop! You have been with Poets United since the early days, helping it grow. What does this community mean to you?
Rene: It’s so nice to be a part of such a welcoming community! And the level of talent is astounding and a bit intimidating! It is a great place to learn and get honest feedback. But for me, giving feedback is hard, I’m just learning the various forms and so on. Sometimes I’ll be moved by a poem and I want to comment on it, then I’ll read the other comments and they’re going on about form and meter ...I feel like if I commented “I loved your poem,” I'd feel an eye-roll all the way to NH!
Poets United: I sometimes feel the same way – but “I loved your poem” is always lovely to hear! I so enjoyed your post “Baring it all in the name of honesty”  – love how you “roll” with the pantry items. Hee hee. Is there a humorous mantra you use often to describe “how you roll” ?

[Wonderful image from Google-Artists for a Pristine Planet-]
Rene: We sort of wing it and fly by the seat of our pants around here. Is it possible to do both?
Poets United: Hey,  "your blog, your rules":)  In my version, I am holding onto my Head, which makes for crunchy landings! You mention your first loves being writing lyrics and prose.  Writing lyrics makes me wonder – are you a musician?  Do you sing?

[photo of Bruce by Jo Lopez]
Rene: The lyrics come naturally to me. I can write a song about hammers. I think while all of the girls were digging on Bruce Springsteen’s looks and stage presence, I fell in love with his words! He, like Mary Oliver, can really make the words do his bidding. Sadly, I cannot sing and I do not play an instrument. I have a friend who is trying to convince me to pick up the bass, though.
Poets United: Playing bass would be cool! Did you know Bruce Springsteen will be on the east coast in April? THAT would be a Bucket List type of concert! What or who would you say has been the single greatest influence on your writing?
Rene: This is going to sound corny but...every single person who reads and comments on my stuff.
Writing something that matters to someone else? That’s the greatest gift.
Poets United: It’s true. A recent poem of yours that really hit home for me was The Love Bird Glass. Here it is, kids:

the milk so
much sweeter
the truth so
much easier
from the inside of
the love bird glass

fill it with joy
or pour out sorrows
hands in prayer
the love bird glass

listen to the rain
hit the roof like a heartbeat
quench a thirsty soul from
the love bird glass

Sigh. So lovely. Hits one in the heart strings. What  time of day or night are we most likely to find you writing?
Rene: Anytime I can grab a moment, I take it! I do seem to get a lot done in the early morning. Right before sunrise.
Poets United: Where do you look for inspiration?
Rene: I keep my eyes and ears open for inspiration. It can come from anywhere. Waiting at a traffic light, tying a shoe...and of course, because I work in kindergarten, from the mouths of babes.
Poets United: Oh, especially there! When you aren’t writing, what other activities do you pursue?
Rene: I am a member and current world record holder of the United States Sleep Olympics team.

[from Google]
Poets United: Ha ha. What is your favorite spot on the planet?
Rene: Lake Sunapee, NH...sitting on the dock watching the sunset.

Poets United: Do you have a Bucket List?

Rene: I'd love to go to Ireland.

Poets United: What does a Perfect Day Off look like to you?

Rene: A Perfect Day Off?

75 degrees
A little sleep
A little writing
and lunch at Great Harvest Bread Company.
I'm not too hard to please.
Poets United: Definitely not the Rockefellers. Way to be happy! Thanks, kiddo, for this lovely glimpse into your life. And thank you for being a loyal Poets United member and sharing your work with us.
Well, kids, there you have it: another lovely, happy life to warm the cockles of our hearts. Isn't it true that poets make some of the most interesting folks around? And, lately, it appears some of the happiest! Come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Renee, I enjoyed meeting you through these words. Sherry, another interesting interview.

  2. Great getting to meet a fellow writer Rene. Good luck with finding much more 'you' time to keep writing that lovely poetry :)
    Another wonderful interview Sherry.

  3. Renee, I think you and I would hit it off in real life. I was a Kindergarten assistant for YEARS! I'm also not at all hard to please (just ask my husband; I am SO low maintenance, it's ridiculous!)

    As for what you said about commenting on blogs and not having the words. Let me tell you, for all my "literary" education, and any skill I have at writing, I still have trouble saying things about other people's work and feeling that I've done it justice.

    Speaking for myself, even an "I liked it a lot" can mean the world!

    Your work is inspired, genius and often surprising. I'm delighted that you found Blogspot in 2008. Long may you blog!

    All the best,


    P.S. I have relatives in NH, and visited when I was a kid. My mom's cousin had an art gallery in Bar Harbour at one time, but now they live in Windham, NH.

  4. OMG - I can't believe I spelled your name wrong. Smack me, would you?

  5. Loved the interview, now will add blog to faves.

  6. Rene has been one of my favs for a long time. Inspired, intelligent, creative and always offering original perspectives. Thank you both for allowing a glimpse into her literal life.

  7. nice...been a renee fan for a long the way she writes and sees...nice to get a bit more of a glimpse renee...hehe look at all those extra e's...smiles....

  8. Rene, glad you returned Fear's Gift! Sherry, thanks for the introduction to, "Not the Rockefellers."

  9. Great interview ladies! I enjoyed Rene's humor and the charm of her view on life. Off to visit your blog~ So true about out of the mouth of babies. I hope you find more time to pen your magic~

  10. So glad to learn more about Rene....i have so enjoyed reading her beautiful and fun writing. Ireland is on my bucket list to Rene. :-)


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