Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poetry and Fiction--Interview With Author Michele Shaw

Have you ever read someone else's words and thought dang, how does she do that? Me too. I recently read Michele Shaw's full manuscript, and let me tell you, I was amazed. Her analogies are stunning. Her descriptions beautiful. Oh, and the plot was amazing. There's no doubt I'll be buying a hard copy in the near future.

What's her secret? I'm guessing it's because she's also a poet. If you haven't visited her blog yet, please stop by and read her poetry. It's a real treat. She captures an entire story and panoramic view in very few words. She was kind enough to shed some light on the inner workings of Michele Shaw.

1. I've read your poetry on your blog, and I was privileged to read your full manuscript. Your word choices are sparse, yet stunning. How difficult is it to find just the right word, one that conveys the perfect mood? 

Wow, funny you would ask me this question because I agonize over each word. I seriously can spend an entire day on one paragraph (and I have), but then I have to force myself to move on. It isn’t usually one word that conveys something for me, but a series of sentences with carefully chosen words and structure. It’s more about rhythm.

2. Do you consciously add poetic nuances to your works of fiction, or does it flow through you organically? 

It isn’t conscious at all for me, but just how the words flow from my brain. I guess I think in that mode at all times since I write poetry nearly every day.

3. It's obvious that poetry influences your fiction. What influences your poetry? 

I have so many influences from poets who write/wrote in structured verse to those who prefer free verse. I write both. I love Sylvia Plath and the darkness of Poe.

4. Have you always considered yourself a poet? Tell us a bit about your poetic journey. 

I submitted my first poem for a competition when I was in high school. Didn’t win a thing and though I kept writing, I didn’t submit poems anywhere until more recently. Poetry was more of a personal thing, but when I started posting poems on my blog, it got noticed and I am now submitting it and even seeing some of it published! Very exciting.

5. What's a favorite poem you wrote? What's a favorite poem written by someone else? 

A favorite poem of mine is called Skim--a sonnet. It’s a blending of fiction and poetry about a merman who collects mortal women.

A water walk in moonlit mist began,
her nightdress floating sheer against damp moss.
The search for whispered lovers crossed the span
with stardust moted air bespeaking loss.
One whistled sigh departed with regret;
familiar strangeness overtaking all,
as echoes high pulled currents to beget
wet anklets weaving closer to her fall.
Her steps did quicken, waving tides behind.
Ached yearning grabbed at birdsong to correct
increasing beats amongst the closing bind;
dewed fairies pleaded turning to protect.
Her capture through dank seaweed did supply
his wanted prize, another sweetheart’s cry.

(Unnecessary interruption from Julie Musil...guys, see what I mean?)

There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself---
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable. Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium. The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights. A gray wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind? Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world, There is only sourness. This red wall winces continually : A red fist, opening and closing, Two gray, papery bags---
This is what I am made of, this and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and a rain of pietas. On a black wall, unidentifiable birds Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immortality among these! Cold blanks approach us : They move in a hurry.
~Sylvia Plath

6. Any tips you'd like to share with aspiring poets? 

Write from the heart and in whatever way you feel comfortable. I believe poets have a writing voice just as authors have a voice.

Friends, she has the rare gift of making blow flies sound creepy yet pretty. Seriously.

Have you ever written poetry? Does poetry influence your work at all?


  1. Love! Great interview and what talent! :-)

  2. Thank you for having me, Julie. Such a pleasure to work with you, sister! And thank you, Morgan!

  3. Great interview. I always admire poets who can put together words so beautifully like Michelle. Thanks so much for sharing the advice and the poem.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing, Julie. That sonnet is amazing! I must get over to your blog, Michelle.

  5. These are the kinds of blog posts I like - when two of my favorite people are in the same place at the same time. :) Thanks for sharing, Ladies.


  6. I often wrestle with the "right" word as well.

    1. It's frustrating sometimes, huh, Traci? But we get there eventually!

  7. Just dropping by to let you know you're my "J" post.

  8. Ooo, I love poetry. I'm going to visit her blog.

    In the last year, I've been reading and writing poetry. It's definitely helped with my word choice for longer pieces.

    1. Hi, Theresa! Glad to meet another writer/poet:)

  9. I'm so lame!! I had typed up a bunch of replies and obviously didn't "publish" them. *smacks head*

    Anyway, thanks so much everyone for stopping by and checking out Michele's amazing poetry.

  10. Wow! Thanks so much for the intro to Michele and her words =)

  11. Michele's poetry is amazing. Thanks for hosting her.

    1. Carol, you are so right. Thanks for the visit!