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Annie Newcomer: Poet Interview

Please welcome Annie Newcomer as the latest poet interview in the Top 25 series of poet interviews from the 2013 April PAD Challenge!

Annie Newcomer

Annie Newcomer

Here's Annie's account of getting started writing: "In 2005 cancer unexpectedly claimed my brother, John Klier, a renowned Russian historian, Jewish scholar and popular professor. While in shock, my husband and I changed airline tickets from our original destination, Galapagos Islands, to London, where he taught and lived. Writing the eulogy on the plane triggered my entry into the world of writing. Delivering my words to a full St Lawrence Church, and seeing that what I expressed held meaning for the mourners, made me realize that through writing I could and would smile again. The unexpected consequence of that talk helped me realize that through writing I could keep my brother close by. I am a former teacher but now I am a student and my goal is to continue to learn as well as to motivate myself and any one else who loves words and life, to write."

Here is her Top 25 poem:

Grandpa's autograph, by Annie Newcomer

Grandpa didn't use pens;
he wasn't a man of letters,
never sat in a school desk,
nor was given a primer.
Never was fitted for uniforms
(he was his own man).
Didn't know how to share
the poetic verses
that lined his mind.
But when asked to give his word,
he knew to extend his hand
believing his handshake
more indelible than any ink.

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Where are you located?

I live in Prairie Village, Kansas, where we celebrate Kansas City Chiefs football (this year), the University of Kansas Jayhawks’ basketball (every year), the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the world renowned Nelson Atkins Art Gallery, Shakespeare Festival in the Park which hosts an adult sonnet contest each year (entries due March 1st), Kansas City Voices (submissions March 15th), Kansas City jazz, and Kansas City barbeque.

Who are your favorite poets?

Emily Dickinson caught my attention early as a youngster when I first read, "Because I could not stop for Death, / he kindly stopped for me." I thought her lines so simple and straightforward. Now I know better.

Paul Laurence Dunbar's, "I know what the caged bird feels, alas! / When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; / When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass…” Ah, Paul Laurence Dunbar fills my soul.

And a shout out for these talented Kansas poets: Jo McDougall, Denise Low, Eve Brackenbury, Brian Daldorph, Jeanie Wilson and Thomas Zvi Wilson.

What do you like most in poems?

I love the feel of the words of a poem in my mouth and mind so I want the poet to place them there sensitively and intelligently. I want each poem that I read to add to me and/or cause me to want to add to myself.

What were your goals for the 2013 April PAD Challenge?

I am late to writing so I want to learn all that I can. The April PAD Challenge was the first time I wasn’t afraid just to write each day. Every morning I jumped up anticipating the next prompt offering. A few days I think that I even beat Robert Lee to the computer.

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Workshop your poetry!

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer's Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World's Problems. He's currently hosting a free challenge with a $500 top prize (learn more). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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