an interview with poet carmen t. bernier-grand . . .

carmenFilling the Creative Well

with Carmen T. Bernier-Grand. Carmen is an award winning poet and teacher living in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Jeremy Grand, and her bilingual dog, Lily. She writes in several genres, and has published a number of stellar picture book biographies in poems:  Diego: Bigger than Life; Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life!; Cesar, Si, se Puede!; and Picasso, I the King: Yo el Rey, are just a few of her recent books. In 2008, the Oregon Library Association ‘s Children’s Division honored Carmen with the Evelyn Lampman Award for her significant contribution to the field of children’s literature.

CG: Describe your earliest memories of yourself creating something.
In second grade I wrote a story about my teacher chewing gum in school. I also made up stories to go with the illustrations on the Sunday comics before reading their captions. And I shook hands with leaves, pretending the plants were royalty. My sister called me a liar; my brother thought I was crazy so he didn’t bring friends to the house.
CG:  What does your workspace look like? How does it reflect and enhance your creativity?
I am surrounded by books and high piles of research. Good vibes.
CG: Is there a book, song, or work of art that you return to again and again to refill the creative well?
Caldecott Award Knots on a Counting Rope written by Bill Martin , Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by Ted Rand. The courageous boy and his storyteller grandfather remind me that I must not wait until tomorrow to write.
CG: Do you have a go-to activity that rejuvenates your creative spirit when you are feeling the well dry up?
 Every morning before I start writing, I read a poem by another writer.

 

CG: Where can people can find you?  www.carmenberniergrand.com

Thank you, Carmen!

cesarsonia

diego

picasso

 

Do YOU have something to share? If you’d like to be interviewed for Filling the Creative Well, drop me a line: cynthia@cynthiagrady.com.