Your Reading Life
MsMac: What books are on your night stand?
Amy: At the moment, my nightstand holds two very different books: THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO by Stephen Galloway and IF YOU WERE A CHOCOLATE MUSTACHE by J. Patrick Lewis.
MsMac:What was your favorite book as a child/teen? As an adult?
Amy: I loved so many books. As a little girl, I would get lost in RICHARD SCARRY’S BEST STORYBOOK EVER and A CHILD’S GARDEN OF POEMS, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa. As I got older, I was a real Nancy Drew fan, enjoying 15 nightly minutes of reading in bed. My mother always checked out library books for my sister Heidi and me, and we kept them on a deacon’s bench in our front hall. Now I have the bench, and it reminds me of those days. As an adult, I have many favorites including WORDS TO LIVE BY by Eknath Easwaran and David Shenk’s THE GENIUS IN ALL OF US.
MsMac: Where’s your favorite reading spot?
Amy: I love reading in bed, in the bathtub, under the Christmas tree…anywhere, really!
MsMac: What do you think about the trend to e-books?
Amy : E-books are amazing, and although I don’t own an e-reader yet, I wouldn’t be opposed to reading on one. But just as I love drafting on paper and then moving to computer, my heart will always hold paper books dear.
MsMac: I have to agree with you, Amy. I have an IPad but I have yet to read a book with it.
Your Writing Life
MsMac: What does a day of work look like for you? What is your favorite time of day to write?
Amy: My daily work often finds me planning to teach or teaching workshops in schools. Writing is something I tuck into nooks of both day and night, often when the rest of the house is sleeping. Some days I am more disciplined than others, and those days make me happy.
MsMac: Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
Amy: I love both! I adore the surprise of drafting, being visited by a mysterious sparkling idea. And I love revising, getting to know the idea better, helping it find its shape and voice. Drafting allows me to free my mind, to accept quirky trinkets from the universe. Revising requires me to read, reread, listen, tune, and rewrite. Both are exciting.
MsMac: What does your writing space look like?
Amy: I write everywhere: at the kitchen table, on my bed, lying on the living room floor, outside in the grass, snuggled up in our fat purple chair, on my steering wheel, at my roll top desk…
MsMac: What are your current projects?
Amy: Right now I need to finish up READING TIME (WordSong), a collection of poems about reading. I am also working on my first picture book and brewing a few other poetry collections.
MsMac: What advice do you have for poets of any age?
Amy: Listen to that small inner voice, the one tossing you mysterious sparkling ideas. Build in some daily quiet so you can hear it.
MsMac: What might readers find you doing when you’re not writing?
Amy: Oh, you might find me just visiting with my great husband and children, or baking, or reading, or working on this enormous granny square afghan, or laughing at the antics of our many pets.
About The Poem Farm
MsMac: How did The Poem Farm Get started?
Amy: I began The Poem Farm as a one-month blog in April 2010. My intent was to write and post a new poem each day for the whole month, but when April ended, I was not finished! I decided to continue posting daily poems and notes to students for a whole year and now still post regularly. Keeping this blog has widened and deepened my little world in more ways than I ever could have dreamt.
MsMac: You have a couple of poetry books that are going to be released. What can you tell me about them?
Amy: FOREST HAS A SONG (Clarion) will be published this March, and it is a whimsical collection of poems about a forest through the seasons. My husband Mark, a science teacher, taught me to pay lose attention to nature on our many hikes together. With this book, I hope to pass on his reverence for the wooded world.
READING TIME (WordSong) is a celebration of reading, inspired by watching our children – Hope, Georgia, and Henry – fall headlong into books of all sorts.
MsMac: What do you hope readers take away?
Amy: I love reading poems that make me whisper, “Yes! I feel that way too, but I didn’t know I felt that way until now.” And I hope that in some small way, my poems will give readers this “not alone” feeling. I always hope that people will be able to find themselves in my poems.
Just for Fun
MsMac: Chocolate: Dark or milk?
MsMac: Coffee or tea?
MsMac: Dance: funky chicken or the tango?
Here is one I love, from Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness.”
“Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”