Introducing Low Rent Prophet: Nomadic Press, April 2021, https://bit.ly/DGLowRent
An interview with the press:
In Low Rent Prophet, you discuss "the possibility of change." What specific changes do you hope for yourself or readers of your book?
For myself, I hope to be able to own my voice and my work more. I talk about that a little bit in the introduction to the book, how this book has helped me do that, but I still struggle with it. I see some writers own their choices, their process, and their subject matter and I am not always able to do that, I have a lot of fear. That’s what I would hope for readers as well, that this book could shake some of the fear loose, and support them in telling their truths and being themselves.
In your introduction, you speak of having a new voice in Low Rent Prophet. Can you describe the difference between your voice in Low Rent Prophet and that in Sam!?
With Low Rent Prophet I wrote all these poems and then I also incorporated some older material in a new way, and the effect of the whole process was to give me a voice or maybe give me back a voice that was missing from my work before. It comes from saying hard things, even when that’s terrifying, and from trying to look at personal and political problems in new ways. In Sam! I was writing something much more simple actually, and I think my voice is that of an educator and an advocate. The book is rooted in my own experiences, too, but the voice is not as raw or complicated. Also, it’s for kids, which is way different.
James Tracy says your poems "make me want to believe." Can you tell us more about your current relationship with God, faith, and/or spirituality?
I have a really fraught relationship with Jesus. He’s challenging in every way. I’m constantly arguing with him but I do generally follow his lead. I preach regularly, and I find that writing sermons really connects me to my faith, much in the way writing poetry does. I also have been exploring interfaith expressions of faith. I’m really interested in the way the holy shows up for people in unexpected ways. I look for Spirit in unlikely places and am constantly being surprised.
You quote June Jordan in your poem, "Excuses": “What in the hell is everybody being reasonable about?” How has she and other authors inspired your work?
June is a huge inspiration for me. She was a phenomenal teacher and really, if you want to talk about owning your voice and your work, she modeled that. I’ve never met someone with as much authority as she had. I’m also inspired by my community of poets, my fellow Molotov Mouths and others, and the work that poets continue to do to challenge themselves and challenge structures and systems as well.
Love Poems in the Apocalypse, Main Street Rag Publishing Company, Forthcoming.
Diakonia, first published as a series at episcopalcafe.com, 2020, https://www.episcopalcafe.com/diakonia/.
SAM!, Penny Candy Books, 2019.
Elizabeth Warren: Get to Know the Persistent Politician, Capstone, 2019.
John McCain: Get to Know the Brave POW and Senator, Capstone, 2019.
The Woman You Write Poems About, Civil Defense Poetry, 2009.
Molotov Mouths (with the Molotov Mouths Performance Troupe), Manic D Press, 2003.
El Cerrito Poet Laureate, 2018-2020