an interview with poet Jone MacCulloch . . .

Filling the Creative Well

I first met Jone MacCulloch last October when she picked me up at the Seattle airport and schlepped me around for several days as we attended the awesome Poetry Camp at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. I have attended dozens of conferences, workshops, seminars, and conventions throughout my career, but this one tops the list! It could be because it was for poets, and everywhere you went, you bumped into a poet, or a poet-musician, or a poet-actor, or a poet-teacher. Like me, Jone is a poet-librarian. She lives and works in Oregon.

Jone’s poem “Super Bowl Sunday” can be read in Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (2015). And her “How to Know You Are Dreaming,”  can be found in The Voice Catcher Online Journal (Summer, 2016). Jone is currently working on a middle-grade novel in verse.

CG: Describe your earliest memories of yourself creating something.   My earliest memory of creating something is of mud pies that my grandmother didn’t want to taste. I also remember the turtle I drew in second grade.  It took up the whole page. Writing poetry started later in school as well as photography.

CG:  What does your work-space look like? How does it reflect and enhance your creativity?  My writing room is cozy.  I have my desk by the window so I can look at the Doug Fir trees.  The wall directly across holds my photos and an amazing print from artist, Johanna Wright.  It’s in memory of Bridget Zinn Family heirlooms and books are important to me.  And a bit of clutter, I am guilty of clutter as my desk shows but in some crazy way, it helps my creativity.

CG: Is there a book, song, or work of art that you return to again and again to refill the creative well?   Naomi Shihab Nye, William Stafford, and Helen Frost are all people I return to again and again to fill the creative well.

Being a part of the Poetry Friday community also refills the well and so does  teaching students about poetry.  Since Poetry Camp, I’ve played with art more thanks to Robyn Hood Black. Her evening about creating poetry, collage, and art has become a new way for refilling the well. I love reading her haiku.

When I am writing or creating art, I might have Pandora on, or sometimes, I like just the quiet. This winter, the wind often provided the white noise for me.

CG: Do you have a go-to activity that rejuvenates your creative spirit when you are feeling the well dry up?   Being outdoors with my camera is my go-to rejuvenation activity.  The Tualatin Wildlife Refuge or the coast are two favorite places.

My monthly writing critique group keeps me honest, on target, and laughing.  We are a group of five and some of have been together almost ten years.

Participating in a poetry community whether it’s Laura Shovan’s February Poetry project or poem exchanges with others keeps the well filled. In the Portland area, poets are lucky to have opportunities for informal poetry sessions with our former poet laureates, Paulann Petersen and Peter Sear.

For National Poetry Month 2017, I am collaborating with Christy Peterson.  She’s providing photos of Northwest creatures for poetry prompts.

CG: Where can people can find you?   Deowriter Poetry blog;  Check It Out School blog; @JoneMac53 (person twitter); @SilverStarLib (school twitter).

Thank you, Jone! Happy Poetry Month!

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Do you have something unique in your creative process that you’d like to share? Feel free to contact me at cynthia@cynthiagrady.com.