Alana Sherman: Poet Interview

Author:
Publish date:

2014 April PAD Challenge countdown: 9. I don't know about you, but I love learning about other poets, especially the poets who hang out at the Poetic Asides blog.

Alana Sherman

Alana Sherman

Alana Sherman, poet and teacher, lives in Woodbourne, NY, with her husband and dogs in an 1834 farmhouse, under constant renovation (sort of like her poems). She belongs to a group of poets who meet once a month to share their work. The Alchemy Poetry Workshop has been in existence since the 1940s and is the oldest extant poetry workshop in Sullivan County (maybe even in NY State!). Alana writes essays, poems and children’s books. In addition to her writing, she is a community developer, working to preserve The Old Stone House of Hasbrouck.

Here's her Top 25 poem:

Dying Sea Bird, by Alana Sherman

Legs splayed behind
feathers bedraggled
its beak in the sand

the only thing
keeping his head erect
Like others I stop

to assess the obvious

Two men discuss
if anything can be done
The tide is going out

the sea at its edges
lavender and aqua
A woman circles

shaking her head

down the beach a couple
getting married
a small girl running

her arms askew
as other birds scatter into the air
the rest of us are concerned

but powerless when I come back

the bird's head
is at an angle
only death can achieve

all that remains
is for the tide to do
what all of us are wishing for

and take the sandy lump away

*****

Where are you located?

I live in upstate New York on an old farm, it's pretty rural.

Who are your favorite poets?

My favorite poets are Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hass, and Stanley Plumly. These days I am re-reading Richard Wilbur and Gertrude Schnackenberg for their incredible skills at rhyming. I can't forget Robert Frost. If I could achieve his simplicity and ability to just move people with meaning as he does in one of my poems I'd be happy as a poet. I probably could list at least five more poets.

As a reader, what do you like in poetry?

When I read I look for the clear expression of ideas through beautiful language, beautiful images. I want a poem to make me say YES, to enhance my experience of the world and life and to connect me to the writer and what he or she was thinking and feeling. ( A part of me always wants to feel a little envious of the poem and to wish that I'd written it.) That's a tall order but really good poetry has always done that for me.

What did you hope to get out of the April PAD Challenge?

I keep a journal and I'm always writing down ideas. As a result I tend to have a lot of the stuff of poems. I use the April PAD to help me crystallize my work. It's a chance to make real poems out of all that rough material. My goal is to come out of the challenge with some poems worthy of being called poems.

What's next for you?

To take the poems I have and revise them into a collection that hangs together. That's why I look forward every year to the November Chapbook challenge. It forces me to re-think and revise.

*****

Get your poetry published!

Learn more.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer's Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World's Problems. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a waiting poem.

GettyImages-119430542

Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WinnerGraphic

Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Want to know how to keep your readers engaged and entertained with your mystery novel? Let these six tips from thriller author Kris Calvin guide you!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank story poem.