Interview With Poet Andrea Defoe

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 seventh interview posted on Deborah’s Poetry Blog of 32 Poems on March 10.

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.

Previously published in Rattle:


Perhaps it was too heavy
for the horses to haul it all the way west
or something else just mattered more.
Maybe someone was jealous
of how the girl played it
as if sweet little veeries were flying out her fingertips:
Snow White of the new frontier.
Maybe she hated it, but probably
it was her favorite thing and alone
nights nothing to smother the hollering
silence she rocked herself and thought
of her piano gathering snow, envisioned
the prairie rodents caching their food
between its wires, elk nosing the keys
in a song so random they could only
think of it like thunder. Maybe some Indian
had found it and grasped its beauty, hauled
it home to pay his dowry. But in the best
of these dreams she was sleeping and the piano’s
legs came to life–this didn’t frighten her,
she’d always known her piano was alive–
and worked its sunken heels out of the soil,
began to march then trot in the path
of the last wheels to pass this way
till one wind-rattled night she’d hear
a peculiar tap and find it there in the dark,
waiting for her to make it sing.

For now, let me introduce to you 32 Poems contributor, Andrea Defoe:

1. You are a contributor to 32 Poems, but what else can you tell us about yourself and your writing life? What do you find difficult about your writing practices?

I’m a stay-at-home parent and presently work from a high traffic area of the house, sharing computer time with my husband and three kids. The most difficult aspect for me is finding time to write when there are few distractions (I choose the word “few,” as there is always some). Functioning as a writer with ADHD is challenging for me, as well — particularly when it comes to reading. I have a lot of books that I’ve begun to read, but relatively few that I’ve been able to finish. A great appeal of poetry is that I can pick up a volume of it, open to any page and read a while without that Ugh! Yet another thing I couldn’t finish… feeling.

2. Do you see spoken word, performance, or written poetry as more powerful or powerful in different ways and why? Also, do you believe that writing can be an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant or collaborative? Why or why not?

My greatest preference is to go somewhere quiet and be alone with a collection. I fixate heavily on individual lines and phrasings — often walking away, returning, and rereading several times before I finally feel ready to appreciate a poem as a whole package. When the poem is simply read to me in a straight stretch, I feel deprived of that — and at times it feels like an imposition, being told how to hear a poem. I’m of the mindset that a poem belongs to its reader. Having said that, some people give fabulous readings that truly do lend a strong voice to their work, so I can’t say this is how it is all of the time.

“Writing” is such an encompassing word. Even if it’s narrowed to mean simply “poetry” I do think the potential for impact is still huge. Elizabeth Alexander’s recent reading at President Obama’s inauguration springs most readily to my mind. The reading itself sapped the luster out of a good poem, but the discussion it inspired, the attention turned to poetry, were positive things.

3. Do you have any obsessions that you would like to share?

I do have an incredibly studly gray cat I call Sir Otter Von Klaus, but I prefer to keep him to myself.

Want to find out what Andrea’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 Andrea here. Please feel free to comment on the 32 Poems blog and Savvy Verse & Wit.

Poet Bio:

Andrea Defoe lives with her husband, three children and several pets on the Red Cliff Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals, most recently Margie, New American Writing, Now Culture and 32 Poems. In addition to writing she enjoys drawing and painting, but is quite bad at both.


I have two copies up for grabs of Sharon Lathan’s Mr. & Mrs. Darcy: Two Shall Become One; the giveaway is international and the deadline is March 14 at Midnight EST.

I also have two copies of Diana Raab‘s My Muse Undresses Me and one copy of Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You. Deadline is March 18 at 5PM EST.

One gently used ARC of Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas; Deadline is March 20 at Midnight EST.