Interview With Poet Kelle Groom

Kelle Groom 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 also write personal essays/memoir. For the last year, I’ve been poetry editor for The Florida Review, and have now shifted into an advisory editor position. I work full-time as the Grants & Communications Manager for Atlantic Center for the Arts, an international artists-in-residence program in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Prior to this, I was the Director of Grants Administration for the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

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

Writing, of course. And books. Coffee. Oceans. Ireland. Prehistory.

When writing poetry, prose, essays, and other works do you listen to music, do you have a particular playlist for each genre you work in or does the playlist stay the same? What are the top 5 songs on that playlist? If you don’t listen to music while writing, do you have any other routines or habits?

I always listen to music when I write, but feel weirdly secretive about it. A few of the pieces are Antony and the Johnsons cover of Dylan’s, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” Gorecki’s Symphony # 3 with soprano Dawn Upshaw, especially the second movement (that should count for at least two…). Steve Earle’s Ft. Worth Blues, Jeff Buckley’s cover (and John Cale’s) of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s pretty much the same songs/pieces for a year or so, regardless of the genre I’m writing in.


Het up boys, skitter boys, muttonchop
go-go boys, gurgle music, kidney stone
music, muchachos party, rubicon sand fire
flaring party, thunderbird ski hats in summer
party, sweaty head party, pound & thump,
socket burning beach party, orange forklift
beach, orange moon ba-boom, hooch smoke,
ta-ta smoke, stonkered house, pandemonium
tetherballed, turtle orbitted, oriflamme ant
house, rust hilled, I know I’m violating
myself house, Maybe you’ll see me
on MTV house, No, dude (to a dog) house,
evening knock knock knock knock
house, evening anamatter clink: glass and tin,
goo food jars, chest hammer music, earthmover,
dog bark music, beep beep back-up
talk, rag and straw sleep, panic sleep, dart
sleep, rummage, rumple, canyon sleep,
sulky bunco, mittenheaded boys, saw-
voiced reclamation boys, fumarole,
radio pale, tar breathing boys
in the chewed grass, white sail an exhale.

(originally appeared in 32 Poems; forthcoming in Five Kingdoms, Anhinga Press, 2009)

If you’ve enjoyed Kelle’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.

About the Poet:

Kelle Groom’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Poetry, among others. Her poetry collections are Five Kingdoms (Anhinga Press, 2009), Luckily, a 2006 Florida Book Award winner (Anhinga), and Underwater City (University Press of Florida).

She’s received awards from Atlantic Center for the Arts, The Millay Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, United Arts of Central Florida, Volusia County Cultural Council, and New Forms Florida.