Monday, March 18, 2013

Laurel Garver's Professional Poetry


A quick welcome to my guest today, Laurel Garver! I recently had the opportunity to read her collection of poetry that's releasing NOW. 

One word: awesome. 

And so, I invited her here to find a little more about her writing. Who doesn't love getting to the core of what motivates a writer, eh? A quick bio:

Laurel Garver is a magazine editor, poet, and writer of faith-based fiction.  She enjoys quirky independent films, British TV, and geeking out about Harry Potter and Dr. Who. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Welcome, Laurel! Have some cheese, eh? First off, how did you get started writing poetry? 

In my angst-filled teen years, poetry was a way of channeling negative feelings. But once I began to really study poetry in AP English, I was struck by how it can succinctly communicate the most moving and profound ideas. Poems are too powerful to waste on wallowing—that’s what a journal is for. 

I completely agree. Poetry is awesome! So, where do you find inspiration? 

I’m drawn to the weird and off-kilter—things not usually thought of as poetry fodder, like derelict factories, evil chickens, Goth girls, leash-trained gerbils, pica. There is a certain beauty in weirdness, and it has the power to break through our ordinary ways of thinking and being. I also like to explore those small, pivotal moments when we have glimpses of grace or divine presence acting behind the scenes.

LOL! In high school my friends and I considered "weird" a compliment. ;) So, along those lines, can you tell us the back story behind one of the pieces in your collection?

“Sixth Story” is a piece jam-packed with the beauty of the weird. It’s about an actual suicide attempt on a Christian college campus where I was a student. An attendee had a psychotic episode and was threatening throw herself out an upper floor window to escape snakes she saw pouring out of the walls, bidden forth by demons that resided in the hallway. One group after another tried to talk her down, to no avail. Her rescuer, a sort of Christ-figure in the story, played along with her delusion, saying he’d locked up the snakes in handcuffs and she was now safe. The incident epitomized for me how religious communities often deal poorly with mental illness when what’s most needed is simple loving compassion—a core value religion is supposed to embody.

Now that's a story. And now, every writer is influenced by someone else. Who has had the strongest influence on your writing?

Madeleine L’Engle’s work has been the most influential in helping me discover and trust my own voice, and to boldly keep my faith at the center of what I create.

She is amazing. For fun, you’re stranded on a deserted island. What 3 things would you take?

A Swiss Army knife, a water filter and a Bible. I’m sure I could figure out how to write on palm fronds if I weren’t starving and dehydrated (thus the first two tools). And if forced to be a hermit, I’d want to be equipped to get the most spiritual benefit from the experience.

That's entirely too practical. I'd be taking a magical cheese producing machine. (The scientists in my basement are hard at work on that one.) And speaking of cheese, if you could only have one type of cheese for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

It’d be content with an extra-sharp English-made cheddar (though I’d pine for Cotswold).


Mm... Now I'm hungry. Thanks for joining us today, Laurel, and here's wishing you all the success in the world with your wonderful poetry!


This thirty-poem collection is an eclectic mix of light and dark, playful and spiritual, lyric and narrative free verse. In an intricate dance of sound play, it explores how our perceptions shape our interactions with the world. Here child heroes emerge on playgrounds and in chicken coops, teens grapple with grief and taste first love, adults waver between isolation and engaged connection. It is a book about creative life, our capacity to wound and heal, and the unlikely places we find love, beauty, and grace.

Check out her book here

And how about you? What cheese would you choose if you could ONLY have one for the rest of your life?


24 comments:

  1. Loved getting to know Laurel better! I really appreciate those writers who can lace a page in elegant poetry. I've dabbled, but nothing compared to a real poet. Congrats, Laurel!

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    1. Thanks, Sheri. Keep reading, keep dabbling and before you know it, you'll have the poetry bug too. :-)

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  2. Thanks for hosting today, Crystal! I'm running a giveaway of the collection over at my blog, now through April 1 (no fooling), just in time for National Poetry Month.

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    1. Awesome! Wahoo! Nothing is better than free. =)

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  3. Loved hearing more about how Laurel started writing poetry. I SO admire anyone who can write poetry. There is so much craft involved to make it sound right and to have the right word choice. In many ways, it's one of the hardest types of literature to write. Good luck with your new book.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! Boiling down images, hunting for the words with the right sounds and meaning is magical, fun, addicting. Its often a matter of finding a few poets you love an playing along similar lines. Dylan Thomas, Alan Ginsberg and Denise Levertov did it for me.

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  4. Wonderful interview! I love reading about Laurel's poetry and her inspirations!

    And for favorite cheese: sheep cheese, Manchego style.

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    1. Mmm. *salivating* Just you mentioning it makes me hungry.

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    2. Thanks, Tyrean. Manchego is wonderful, especially with other Spanish tapas fare, like olive tapenade. Mmmm!

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  5. Loved the interview! Great questions.

    One cheese? That depends. Will I have the ability to cook it or would I only be able to eat it and nothing else? If I can cook it, I choose Brie. I love baked Brie. If not, I'm not too sure. I love Gouda but I love so many cheeses. I can't pick one baby.

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    1. LOL! I would face the same dilemma, but Gouda is awesome--especially on butter crackers. Mmm...

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    2. It was a rather unfair question! Only ONE? I had to go with the most versatile. But seriously, I pine for Cotswold regularly. But there are a half dozen others I love too. I prefer sharp, salty cheeses.

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  6. This was a fun interview! Like others said, I admire anybody who can write poetry well, because I definitely cannot. ;) I'm intrigued by the "Sixth Story" poem in particular. Will have to read these sometime. Thanks, Laurel and Crystal!

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    1. I'm running a giveaway of the e-book on my blog. Pop on by to enter!

      Sixth Story is one of my favorites to talk about because its inspiration is kind of typical for me. I encounter something weird and think "hey, poem here."

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    2. Thank you for stopping in and reading, Shelley!

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  7. Laurel is awesome. And weird is def a compliment in my book. Same as crazy. ;)

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    1. Yay! I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in being attracted to oddball material. I mean, come on, this story ends with a security guard saying he'd locked up her hallucinated snakes in handcuffs. No kidding. How could you NOT want to write about an incident like that??

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  8. Great interview. I love poetry and I think her writing has a great niche.

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  9. Camembert, without thinking about it for a second. :-D

    Laurel's poetry sounds fascinating.

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  10. Yay, and best wishes, Laurel! LOL, evil chickens. I like that. Chilling about the snakes and suicide story. Thanks for the interview!

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  11. I was never a poet, or fond of poetry, for that matter. And then this past summer i got my hands on T.S. Eliot and now I'm a believer and can't seen to get enough. A strange insatiable craving, possibly trying to make up for lost time. Who knows. i am now dying to read Laurel's book now, though. It sounds quirky and deep and passionate, if that is a possible combination. :)
    As for cheese, i am going to have to say cheese cake. I need my sweets! It may not be as gourmet or classy as any of the cheeses, but really, for the rest of my life? I would be a happy girl.

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  12. I was never a poet, or fond of poetry, for that matter. And then this past summer i got my hands on T.S. Eliot and now I'm a believer and can't seen to get enough. A strange insatiable craving, possibly trying to make up for lost time. Who knows. i am now dying to read Laurel's book now, though. It sounds quirky and deep and passionate, if that is a possible combination. :)
    As for cheese, i am going to have to say cheese cake. I need my sweets! It may not be as gourmet or classy as any of the cheeses, but really, for the rest of my life? I would be a happy girl.

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Hit me with your cheese!