Interview With Poet Alison Stine

I’ve been working on a interview project with Deborah at 32 Poems magazine, and she kindly allowed me to interview past contributors to the magazine. We will be posting the interviews throughout the coming months, and our fourth interview posted on Deborah’s Poetry Blog of 32 Poems on Feb. 23.

I’m going to provide you with a snippet from the interview, but if you want to read the entire interview, I’ll provide you a link for that as well.

For now, let me introduce to you 32 Poems contributor, Alison Stine:

1. Not only are you a contributor to 32 Poems, but you are also a composer and teacher. What “hat” do you find most difficult to wear and why?

And right now I’m a student too! I’ve gone back to school after six years away to pursue my PhD at Ohio University. I love it. Switching back and forth between learning and teaching isn’t as difficult as I had expected because I feel like I’m learning all the time. I feel my students really teach me. They constantly inspire me and surprise me. I learn from them, and I write for them, especially the high school students that I teach in the summer. I want to make them proud and write something they can believe in and relate to. As far as composing, at the moment, my music is very private. It’s still happening. I still write it. But it’s happening only for me. And that’s the hardest right now.

2. Most writers will read inspirational/how-to manuals, take workshops, or belong to writing groups. Did you subscribe to any of these aids and if so which did you find most helpful? Please feel free to name any “writing” books you enjoyed most (i.e. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott).

I did get an MFA in Writing, and I’m in a PhD program now, but the best writing workshops I had were unofficial or off record. Having informal, friendly conversations about the poems really shaped them and made them strong, grow tendrils and vines I never expected. I was fortunate to be a part of two workshops in the summer at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and during the school year in a “non-school” setting at Stanford University as a Wallace Stegner Fellow. Those experiences absolutely changed my writing life. Saved it even. And those workshop leaders were the best teachers I have ever had. But everyone you meet is a potential teacher. You never know who will touch you or your poems, will come back to you years later when you need their words. I’ve never been able to finish a self-help or writing book of any sort, although I have tried. I just had a tennis book recommended to me for what it says about concentration, that that can be applied to writing. Who knows? Maybe this one will stick!

3. How do you stay fit and healthy as a writer?

I’m a new fan of the Wii Fit! My college-age brother got one for Christmas, and my parents ending up buying each of my siblings one because they’re hilarious and imaginative. I also run a lot, run and walk but don’t listen to music. I think when I’m running. I think in the silence of running. I especially love to run into the deep country and in the deep dark ice of early morning winter, when there’s no one around but snow and birds. I’m definitely a winter runner.

Want to find out what Alison’s writing space looks like? What music she listens to while she writes? Find out what she’s working on now, her obsessions, and much more. Check out the rest of my interview with Alison here. Please feel free to comment on the 32 Poems blog and Savvy Verse & Wit.

Check out some of Alison’s work at Prairie Schooner.

***Don’t forget my Arlene Ang, Secret Love Poems, giveaway***