TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Jeremy Nathan Marks — Poetry Contributor

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As an extension of The Black Lion Journal’s mission, The Wire’s Dream is a semi-annual magazine that values community, life perspectives, and different worldviews. Contributors were asked to complete a set of mini interview questions with the purpose of sharing with the readers and their fellow submitters a bit about who they are and about their creativity. All questions were the same for each contributor; and each answer given is unique, open, friendly, and candid.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
It is my bread and vegan butter. I feel that creativity is ecology and ecology is representative of what I value most in life: life itself. I believe that creativity is what humans do; I believe that the creative principle is what life is. So, creativity means everything to me.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
I was a night owl until my second daughter was born (she is now two and a half months old)! I make time; I sneak time; I take any chance I get to put thoughts to digital paper. I also have learned that the “demands” made on my time are often wonderful sources of creative fire.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
I have long shied away from writing in a confessional manner, even though the work of poets such as Adrienne Rich and Robert Lowell has influenced me and I admire both immensely. I tend to write in an observational manner, though recently some of my poetry has turned towards family, memory, the experience of nostalgia and, of course, the presence of the past. When I write of my family and my family’s history, I find that my style is a blend of confession and semi-detached observation. But I suppose that is a judgment my reader would be better able to make.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
I remember so well watching a Great Blue Heron standing perfectly still in the midst of a powerful thunderstorm. I was living in Hamilton, Ontario at the time and was watching this bird from the balcony of my 11th floor apartment. It was a fascinating spectacle as the ditch in which it was standing was just below the expressway. I remember feeling myself suddenly transported into the heron and seeing the world -for a moment- from what I believed was the heron’s perspective. I will never forget this. I felt such tremendous awe for this bird and for our world. It was, as the mystics say, an oceanic feeling.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

Yes, I do. I am working on a play at the moment and I also have a novel for which I need to make time. But when it comes to where my ideas come from I draw from a wide range of subjects including philosophy, myth, tales from Chasidism, liberation theology, rhetoric, epic, politics, the history of the Americas, painting (post-impressionism and American gothic) and music -especially blues, jazz, hip hop, reggae, American and African folk musics. I like to think that my work is a response to the conversations that are bubbling up from the land and water and through the landscapes of the urban, rural, remote and the body.

What/who inspires you the most?
The natural world is central for my work, but I find that the sublime landscapes of the American and Canadian Rust Belt are now exerting a tremendous influence in my life. I live two hours from Detroit, Michigan and I make time to go exploring there. I feel that Detroit in particular is the nexus of so many of the issues that drive me: ecological, racial, historical, post-colonial, industrial and contemporary political. Plus, the art of Detroit is inescapable: it is present in Diego Rivera’s murals; Motown music; Detroit jazz and blues history; graffiti; Detroit rock musics and techno; and of course the physical landscape of this fascinating city.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I am a very big fan of the poetry of Kevin Ridgeway and David J. Bauman, two writers who have received recognition in the poetry world but whom, I believe, deserve to be household names. They both write with sensibilities that are so finely tuned to the present moment but their poetry also contains a grain of timelessness. I have been influenced by both of them in my own writing. They are also very kind and gracious people whom I feel fortunate to call my friends.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
I will repeat the cliche that you must never give up. You will be published. I can guarantee that. Hannah Arendt -and Elizabeth Strout- both wrote that “anything is possible” in the human world. It is. You just have no idea what your potential and your creative depths are. When you feel the need to write, you must write. And of course, once you write you need to share what you’ve done. Do it. Good things will come.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
I want my work to be sitting on bookshelves in libraries and in people’s homes. I dream of appearing in Kenyon Review and The New Yorker. I dream of reading my poetry and prose in front of audiences. It isn’t that I want fame; I just want to devote my working life to writing.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Jeremy

Jeremy Nathan Marks is an American living in London, Ontario. Recent poetry has appeared (or is appearing) in Rat’s Ass Review, The Blue Nib, Word Fountain, The Wild Word, Ariel Chart, Muddy River Review, Morel Magazine, I-70 Review and Chiron Review.

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