Wednesday Mar 29

Cassie Cassie Fox is a creative writing major at Waynesburg University.
I had never done an on-camera interview, so when I was asked if I wanted to travel to West Virginia University with a couple of my classmates to interview Michael Blumenthal, I was hesitant. My first instinct told me to say no. I thought that there could be no way that I could sit in front of a camera and have a coherent conversation with a law professor, who also happens to be the author of numerous books of poetry, a novel, and a memoir. However, I agreed to do the interview because not only did I want to meet Michael, I also wanted to do something I was afraid to do.

I first read a poem of Michael’s in a book called Poems to Live By. The poem was titled “What I believe,” in which he writes, “I believe that no one is spared/ the darkness/and no one gets all of it/ I believe we all drown eventually/ in a sea of our own making/ but that the land belongs to someone else.” Immediately after reading it, I thought, this is what a poem should be, this is the kind of poetry I want to read, the kind I want to write. I found myself repeating these words as I read more of Michael’s poems and those of Matt London, Steve Shilling, Martin Cockroft and Ken Nicholson.

Unlike these talented poets, though I have tried, I haven’t completed a poem in over a year. From time to time, a string of words is spoken to me from somewhere deep inside, and I scramble to find a pencil and paper, write down the words and wait for the rest to come. But lately, nothing comes, and so instead of writing poems, I read them.