An Interview with Terrell Jamal Terry, "Ode to a Lemon Landscape"


What inspired this piece?

This particular poem has had its own evolution. I will say it used to be heavier, more narrative. As I remember the original version was written mid to late 2013. This was a piece that was pleading to be seen with fresh eyes, to be given a more intuitive voice.

Who are the writers you admire?

G.C. Waldrep, Donald Revell, Bruce Bond, Mary Ruefle, David Dodd Lee, Mark McMorris, Ralph Angel, Ruth Ellen Kocher, and Dana Levin, to name but a few. After my initial anxiety of influence, these writers showed me the true possibility of language; how active and powerful words are. Their work always reminds me that poetry is a most imaginative art form, requiring intelligence and compassion to be truly appreciated.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I am inspired by the possibility of creative expression. It's strange that my heart beats. That it's a battery. Heart, brain, body, and breath. I don't understand the miracle. I feel a slow rush during the writing process. The discoveries that occur when intention and accident collide are very palpable.

Would you rather have the power of flight or invisibility? And why?

This is a hard one that I have thought on before. I think flight would make me a target (this might show my thinking process) and invisibility would give me an unfair hand. Invisibility seems to be the more complex power.