Saturday, September 9, 2023

Q&A with Matthew Mumber




Matthew Mumber is the author of the new poetry collection The Attending. He also has written the poetry collection In the Awakening Season. He is a radiation oncologist based in Georgia.



Q: Over how long a period did you write the poems in The Attending?


A: Over about a 2.5 year period.


Q: The book's title relates to the medical theme running through the poems, but how was the title chosen, and what does it signify for you? 


A: I like that the word has several meanings. An attending physician is the physician in charge of the patient's care. Attending as a process is vital in engaging in the process of alignment with the part of my self that pays attention, is awareness.


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


A: I have multiple guides and readers who help me in this capacity as it is sometimes difficult to see the big picture message of the whole collection. It is a process that requires multiple drafts and edits. 


Q: The poet Donald Revell said of the collection, "Matthew Mumber has forwarded a courage and energy to our moment more familiar to readers of Blake and of Traherne than to us beleaguered contemporaries." What do you think of that description? 


A: I am humbled to be mentioned in their company, first of all. My work has a spiritual focus, and my writing is a contemplative practice. I can see the similarity in inspiration and message.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am working on my next compilation, tentatively entitled Allowing. I anticipate it being ready in 2025. Depending on how that goes, I may consider combining The Attending, this next compilation, and my first book, In the Awakening Season, together as a single publication. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I use a lectio divina practice as a framework for most of my writing.  


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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