When did you first start reading poetry? Who were you reading? Do you remember your first impulse to write? And can you describe it?
I first got interested in poetry when I was around 11 yrs. old in the mid-1950’s from reading Mad Magazine (25 cents cheap). They often had humorous verse. One that I still remember was a take off on Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees”. It was called “Beer” and started out like this: “I think that I shall never hear/ a poem more lovely than beer./ With golden base and snowy cap/ that stuff that Joe’s Bar has on tap.” So I tried writing some humorous verse for awhile. However, I was always getting unrequited crushes on various girls and then began writing truly horrible poems about the pain of love and lack thereof. Then, when I was about 12 yrs. old, I was reading a Life magazine, which my family subscribed to, and there was an article about the Beat Generation. The article was very anti-Beat but after I read it I knew that I had stumbled upon my kind of people. I eventually went to the library and read Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind, Jack Kerouac’s first novel, The Town and the City, and other Beat writings. And that was it. I was hooked on poetry and have been writing seriously ever since. I guess I’ve been at it now for well over 50 years. Do you write everyday? Do you keep a kind of schedule or routine, or do you write when the mood strikes you?
I don’t write everyday, or keep any kind of schedule, although when I’m not writing I’m always thinking about it, and keeping my mind and eyes open, and I think those thoughts and images get stored in my head. Then, when I do sit down to write, hopefully 140
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