Saturday, November 5, 2022

Q&A with Connie Soper




Connie Soper is the author of the new poetry collection A Story Interrupted. She also has written the book Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail. She lives in Oregon.


Q: Over how long a period did you write the poems in your new collection?


A: Some of these poems were written over 25 years ago, and ultimately set aside, along with others, during a long hiatus when I did not write poetry at all. About three years ago, I resumed writing, and resurrected and revised some of those in this collection. (Luckily, they were saved on an old computer.)


Q: How did you decide on the order in which the poems would appear?


A: I am not sure it was a “decision” to order them in a certain way. Rather, it was more by instinct, and I knew I did NOT want to organize them chronologically, or in sets of ekphrastic poems, family poems, nature poems, etc. I wanted these themes to flow through the collection. John Sibley Williams, with whom I worked on many of these poems, provided helpful guidance in organizing them. 

Q: John Sibley Williams said of the collection, “There’s a sense in this beautiful collection that everything is threaded through everything else, that all boundaries are immaterial and impossible to sustain, that within even struggle and absence there is profound meaning. What do you think of that description?


A: John has a unique insight to the collection since he worked with me on developing many of the individual poems (which got me through Covid!). I value and respect his opinion, and he held me to a high standard, for which I am grateful. I appreciate his observation regarding loss (loss of youth, lost opportunities, the poignancy of memories…) as a theme throughout the collection.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: The title refers to the interruption of my work as a poet, as mentioned previously. It is also a phrase from one of the poems in the collection (one of several) regarding my mother’s dementia. She had been a librarian, loved books, but is not able to relate to them in the same way.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: One poem at a time. I would love to publish a second book of poetry, if only to know the first was not a fluke! But, at age 74, I hope the second book does not take so long to complete. I continue to be influenced and inspired by my travels, and by my connection to the natural world.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I am a hiker, and have written a trail guide describing 40 hikes along the Oregon Coast Trail. I would say that my love of poetry influenced the writing of that (nonfiction) book and, vice versa, that hiking, trails, and Oregon history have greatly influenced my poetry. I don’t see that changing!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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