An Interview with Dee Stribling

The Local Authors Book Fair is almost here! We’re so excited about our fabulous list of guests and hope all of you will come out to support our vibrant local writing community. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with so many talented locals!

To whet your appetite for the readings and book fair, we’ll be offering interviews with some of our guests across the next few days.


FOCPL: What should readers know before they pick up one of your books?

That I have an academic background in Geography (specifically, Medical Geography – for example, where to place healthcare services, or CDC and flu diffusion).  Geography is about spatial relationships; both physical and cultural geography inform my poetry about people and place. I also want readers to know I honor and cherish the friends, family, and places that inspire many of my poems. 

FOCPL: Why are you a writer? What drew you into a writing life? 

Writing and art have always been part of my life. I’m a writer because that’s who I am, there’s no choice about it. I remember begging my mother to enroll me in the “Famous Writer Courses” as a kid (I dreamed big even then 😉 I wrote a lot in high school and dedicated my first collection of poems to my high school English teacher – who encouraged me to “just write” and not worry about whether it was “good” or not. Writing and the writing life draw me because both bring joy and fulfillment. I’m very thankful to finally be able to be in the “writing life” full-time.

FOCPL: Where do you write? Do you have a particular routine you follow?

Anywhere. I always have a notebook with me – poems often start as illegible scribbles while I’m driving. Words come to me and I have to write them down. I also keep a notebook by my bed. My favorite place to write is at the dining room table – lots of light in that space, with a good view of bird feeders (which my cat also enjoys).

FOCPL: What part of writing brings you joy? What part do you struggle with?

The spontaneity of creativity brings me joy – looking at a blank page and seeing what words appear on it. The joy of playing with words and form, taking what I “see”, trying to get that on the page in a way that comes back to three dimensions for the reader. (And hoping they’ll interpret it as it fits their world.) Challenge comes in trying to write prose with characters and dialog.

FOCPL: Have you had any important mentors in your writing life? 

I have many people to thank and count all of them as mentors in a way. Georgann Eubanks (who got me started with Table Rock Writers), Judy Goldman – perfect gentle support when I decided to write again after years in the corporate world. Zelda Lockhart, John Bemis, Joseph Bathanti, Darnell Arnoult, Phillip Shabazz. There are poets I admire and count as inspirational mentors – Jaki Shelton Green and Joy Harjo, for example.

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