Carole Cole: Poet Interview

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Here's the next installment of the Top 25 poet interview series related to the 2013 Poetic Asides April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge. In this post, I'm happy to share a poem by Carole Cole.

Posted: No Trespassing, by Carole Cole

The elegant Victorian on the corner
has sat vacant for a decade,
the purple paint fading, the white lace
curtains sagging gray like a sad
Southern Belle, still waiting for the suitor
who now will never come. Squatters
light candles in the parlor, crack pipes
clutter the fine wool rugs. Beer cans
and pizza boxes litter corners where
party shoes and lingerie were once discarded.
The air of desperation lies thick against the glass.
She's pulling in the mat, nailing closed
the shutters, turning off the gas.
She leans into the night, a has-been derelict
mourned by strangers who linger
on the sidewalk, try to peer into her windows,
reminisce as though they knew her, want
to walk the wide veranda, past the signs
the sheriff nailed through her heart.


Carole Cole

Carole Cole

Where are you located?

I live in Bradenton, Florida, which is on the south edge of Tampa Bay on the Gulf coast.

Who are your favorite poets?

My favorite poets? A nearly impossible question, but I like the traditional modernists like Eliot, Frost, Yeats; some earlier ones like Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins; Adrienne Rich (who should have won a Nobel Prize), Li-Young Lee, Lucille Clifton, Joy Harjo. I just found out about Natalie Diaz. This is just my today's list.

As a reader, what do you like most in poems?

I tend to be attracted to the music of the language, which is why I like Eliot so much, but it needs to "lift the top of my head off" or punch me in the chest if it doesn't make me laugh (or do both) like Clifton and Billy Collins can do.

Which reminds me: I love William Stafford's "Traveling Through the Dark" for the music, the detail, and the unresolvable moral dilemma at the heart of it. I love complex responses to complex issues of being human. I like to be surprised.

What were your goals for the 2013 April PAD Challenge?

I totally met my goal for last April's PAD, which was to develop the discipline to write a poem every day for 30 straight days. I pushed myself hard most days but also learned to accept the failures as part of the process. I've always known that I'd never write a good poem unless I wrote a bunch of bad ones, but it's hard to put that practice into action.

What's next for you?

So far, I've lived half my life in Indiana and half in Florida. When I retire, in the next 1 1/2 years, I hope to spend the next part of my life in Central America, probably Panama. So what's next is to learn Spanish, create space for myself to read and write, and do the upcoming November PAD challenge, as well as the April 2014 one.


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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. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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