We published these Two Poems by Kelley Bright Leidenthal in April and then asked her these questions.
1. When have you pretended to be in hate?
I very rarely pretend to hate. Itâ€™s not nearly as fun as pretending to be in love. I do very often pretend to be in mortal danger, which may be as close to pretend hate as I get. I sometimes imagine my death or very near death, which is morbid. I like to envision my death by boating accidents and gunshot wounds, which are the most unlikely ways for me to die. I admit that I have imagined throwing my drink on someone who has wronged me, but it always certainly pretend. In my real life, I am a chicken. My pretend life is much more interesting.
2. What are your bowling scores sober and drunk?
I am an excellent drunk bowler. My drunken throws are far superior to a highly focused sober throw. I am my own greatest critic. I think sometimes I just need to relax and let the ball fall where it will. I once drunkenly bowled 5 strikes in a row on a first date. I spanked him so good he did not request a second date. I insist I mean purely bowling.
3. How has being a Juvenile Service Officer impacted your writing?
I love my job. I get to work with a lot of youth who need direction and positive role models in their lives. They inspire me to channel my feelings into art. So many of my kids write, rap, sing or draw as a primary form of expression. The way they have been dealing with their emotionsâ€”drugs, sex, alcoholâ€”have landed them in my detention facility. Away from the home environment, they are forced to face those feelings or experiences in some other way. One of my favorite things in the world is when a kid brings me a poem and asks me what I think. They are always so beautiful regardless of what my degrees tells me. Thatâ€™s poetry.
4. How did you react when you got the acceptance letter?
It was really early in the morning and no one else was up. I was at my residency for graduate school with a ton of other writers. I really got to savor it. It was following the New Year and I just had a sense that 2012 was going to be good to me, and it really, really has. Later in the day I of course gloated to everyone I knew, but it was a special personal moment for me up until the sun came up.
5. What do you have in you?
I imagine I have lots of yarn inside me all bundled together and tangled. If ever unraveled, I am sure I will die.
6. What made you choose your lines to be mostly stand alone sparse sentences?
Hm. Good question. I suppose because thatâ€™s how I would say them to you. I write conversationally and it really is my voice, I want it represented that way. No bullshit here. This is my experience and my story.