Poets are special people. I have found that they are some of the oldest spirits and have a wonderful view of the world. A few months ago, I interviewed a fantastic photographer called Ray Zirkle. See that interview here. Ray and I had a great time and recently he contacted me to interview his wife, Marianne. He explained that Marianne is a published poet and asked if I would be happy to interview her. I said yes– what else can you say to a great guy like Ray? We set a time and I met his charming wife. I hope you enjoy the words of one of my newly discovered favourite poets…
Q) Hi, Marianne, I’m Nick! Great to meet you!
A) My pleasure to meet you, Nick.
Q) Can I start by asking you to tell me all about yourself? Who is Marianne Zirkle?
A) Well. On the outside, for the last eighteen years, I have been an adult educator. First, I worked with victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, and then with perpetrators. A few years later, I focused on employment– I worked with individuals with criminal backgrounds and those on government assistance. Now, I am working to help individuals with disabilities gain employment. Ah…but on the inside, I am a poet.
Q) A poet with a recently published second book, am I right?
A) Yes, my most recent book is Rhapsody In Moonlight–The Poetry and Music of Dreams that came out in 2012. My first book, Cool Shade And Sweet Water came out back in 2006.
Q) Two books– you must be proud to have two of them written and on the market. What made you decide to get published, Marianne?
A) As a little girl I had this dream…It withdrew to the background for a while as I raised my family; but then in 2002, I started writing again and I had thousands of poems. I thought they were too good for me not to share.
Q) What is the writing process for you? Do you spend long nights with music just writing away? Or quiet afternoons? What works for you?
A) No, it seems to be stress! As you can imagine, I work in a very stressful environment. I noticed that the more pressure there is during the day, the more likely my poetry will take on an ethereal feel. Often it is a word or a feeling or something hidden that will inspire me.
Q) That’s an interesting concept. I have never heard that answer before. When you feel inspiration, do you just have to sit down and write? Relieve the stress?
A) Oh, yes. Often a word or phase “haunts” me and I get no peace until I sit down and let it come out.
Q) How did you go about getting your first book published? What was the process?
A) It isn’t easy. Finding a publisher was hard. I went with a “POS” Publisher which means “Print on sale.” Then there was all the editorial work. I love writing, but publishing…not so much.
Q) If asked by a young writer, would you say that the effort is worth the end result?
A) Oh, Yes! Poetry writing is something that comes from so deep inside it hurts not to fulfill the need. Publishing just seems to be one of those thing a poet has to do to help ease the ache.
Q) Let’s talk about sales. Have you had a strong reception to your work so far?
A) I am not going to retire on it. I once read a quote from Henry David Thoreau, who self-published. He was complaining that he paid to print 1,000 books and was not happy because he had 995 left. POS publishing does not cost the poet. But it is still a hard sell.
Q) I guess it’s all down to exposure and sparking people’s imagination. Have you done many interviews?
A) The first book, yes. With Rhapsody, not as much. Hopefully this exposure will spark something. Rhapsody is based on my dreams. I dream in many dimensions often accompanied by a musical tone that I have identified as cello music.
Q) You actually hear music in your dream?
A) Yes, like background music. A tone actually.
Q) Perhaps it’s something with relevance to a past life?
A) Past, present and future. Faces I have known, faces unknown but recognized, and also unfamiliar faces.
Q) I’m a great believer in what we see in dreams. Too much happens later on for me to dismiss it.
A) I know that feeling. Dreams are the Soul’s data processor.
Q) Yes, indeed, I’ve always tried to listen to them. Sometimes they fade away too quickly for my liking.
A) Each night you have to make the decision to remember your dreams. It is best if you give yourself that suggestion when you are in that “twilight” sleep, just before dozing off. Then keep a recording device near the bed. A pen and paper will do. In the morning you will remember something. Record it. Later look at it and you will remember more. Write it down. Each night you will remember more…and more…and more…
Q) Where can people pick up copies of your work, Marianne?
A) Barnes and Noble:
Q) Thank you for your time!
A) No problem! Have a great night, Nick.
I hurried off to read the poetry of Marianne Zirkle. What did I find? Beautiful words and feelings. If this is what you get from listening to your dreams, then I will buy that.
Nice interview Nick, Marianne it was lovely to meet you.
No problem at all Alex! It’s great that you enjoyed it!