Can you discuss the meaning of the title?
The title went through several revisions. I believe it started as “Three Rivers,” then I changed it to “River Dreams,” and then “The Strand” before finally settling on “Dreams from the Strand.” Because the poem is about memory and dreams, I wanted the title to reflect that, but also I thought that the word river would be too overused if I also put it in the title. So, by putting the speaker resting on the strand or land that borders these three rivers, it gives a sleepy and faraway distance from the water. Even though the speaker is in the water as something else in each section, again, the out-of-body feeling the title brings is what I was going for.
You're on a deserted island with only one poem. Which one is it and why?
There are so many, of course, to choose from, but since this is a deserted island I’m stranded on I would want William Wordsworth's “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798.” Not only has this poem inspired me as a poet on several occasions, but it moves my spirit. There are some lines in this poem that simply blow me away. With this poem, too, I’ll always have gorgeous descriptions of the woods, pastures, cliffs, and hermit’s cave and the human connection to all of it. It would bring me reassurance and peace while on the island.
Who has been influential in your development as a poet?
As far as other poets, my work has been influenced by Mary Oliver, Yusef Komunyakaa, the imagists—Ezra Pound, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Amy Lowell. Also, Auden, Yeats, Eavan Boland, and Anne Sexton. There are many more, but these are the first and most important influences.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Hiking trails and getting outside in nature has always inspired me. Even walking city streets inspires me. No matter where I am, if I take a walk, it seems to allow me time to think and ease my mind. I believe this helps me as an artist tap into the collective consciousness.
What have you learned about the craft of writing poetry?
Probably the biggest epiphany I’ve had as a poet was when I discovered how important it is to leave a poem alone for a while. Revisiting a poem many times over a period of time can make all the difference in the world. When I let a poem rest and come back to it with fresh eyes, it is, for me, the only way to revise. I always see something new or immediately see things that are not working and cut or add. In doing this, I can recognize when a poem is not working and, perhaps, I need to let it go.
Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the power of flight. Why?
I think flight would be nice to have as a superpower. That way I could travel anywhere for inspiration—walk the streets of Italy, Ireland, Greece—anywhere at all.