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Interview With Poet Claudia Burbank

Claudia Burbank recently agreed to an interview with myself and 32 Poems. And here is what she had to say.


How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room eager to hang on your every word?  Are you just a poet, what else should people know about you?

I’ve come to writing after retiring from the corporate world (telecommunications).  I was one of those road warriors you see running through the airport.  I knew I was traveling too much when the airline crew celebrated my birthday.  Lacking a background in English or writing I had to start from scratch.  Reading has been a lifelong delight though. 

I’m a graduate of Vassar College and a 30 year subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.  Few people know I’m proficient at wallpapering and installed a tub surround with sliding glass doors by myself.  

I received a Fellowship in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, won the Inkwell Award (Alice Quinn, judge), and had my work featured on Verse Daily.  I’ve published about 90 poems so far, most recently in Subtropics, Hotel Amerika, and Passages North.

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?

Most writers are better at writing than reading their work aloud which often tends to be dull, interminable, largely indistinguishable and unmemorable.

The written word tends to be more powerful and lasting and easier to grasp.  Studies show that the brain is actively engaged in creating the experience when you read as opposed to being a passive listener.  If your mind wanders you can simply start over. 

On the second question: if only.

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

I tend to be obsessive about most things I do.  This month that includes Ken Ken puzzles, keeping my teeth extra clean, and the adagio from Beethoven’s “Emperor Concerto.”

If you’ve enjoyed Claudia’s answers so far, I suggest you check out the rest of my interview with her over at 32 Poems Blog. Once there, you can find out about her workspace, her inspirations, and much more. Feel free to leave me comments about her interview or your thoughts on poetry in general.