Circadian Poems

A place to celebrate poetry, poets, and the creative spirit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Interview with B.K. Birch

B.K. Birch is a poet, novelist, and short story writer who recently founded the hot new literary ezine, The Scruffy Dog Review. She took time out of her busy life to talk to Circadian Poems.

1. As a reader of poetry, what do you crave most?

Well, it depends upon what mood I'm in. Sometimes I seek nirvana in the words while at other times I'm searching for a revolution.

2. As a writer of poetry, what do you hope to communicate to your reader?

My goal is to create a feeling, idea or epiphany that the reader has either never felt or has suppressed.

3. How does your poetry-crafting differ from the way you create your fiction?

My poetry is much more personal than my fiction so when I write poetry, I have to search past the filters to find the raw emotion. Whereas with fiction, I can take a situation or point in time and ask "what if?" and the story and characters tend to roll out of me. Poetry is much more difficult to write because it contains much more than my writing voice - it contains me.

4. What do you believe is the responsibility of the poet to the reader?

I believe poetry readers are the most sensual of readers and by that I mean they not only read and appreciate the prose – they feel it. They read because they want to experience a feeling, be it excitement, love, lust, horror, fear, enlightenment or peace. It is my responsibility to provide the emotion the reader seeks.

5. Where do you feel "spoken word" falls in the realm of poetry?

I believe everyone has a bit of a poet in them and that poetry is the natural rhythm of humans. However, when we become programmed to fit into society, we lose much of that rhythm and that is sad.

Music and especially rap music is a perfect example of spoken poetry. You may not like what you hear, but it makes you think and is certainly more creative and exciting than 'Poetry Readings". This is strictly my opinion.

6. Which poets influence you the most and why?

Wow, there are so many and different poets influenced me at different times. William Blake, Walt Whitman and early (pre-religious) T.S. Elliot as these poets write of revolution – sometimes loud and sometimes soft, but it is there.

William Butler Yeats, Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Frost for the images their words create. I also love the Bronte sisters, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton and Emily Dickinson.

7. How do you think kids can be encouraged to experience poetry?

That's a good question and quite honestly, I can't think of an answer. But what I do know is that the current method of making students memorize a boring poem for class really doesn't teach them to appreciate the art. It makes them loathe it. I also wish they'd stop studying Paradise Lost by Milton – talk about boring. It's a shame too because there are so many exciting poets published whom students would appreciate more and perhaps become enthused about poetry.

8. When you read an especially powerful poem, what is the impact, both long-term and short-term?

The poem "Satan" by Terry Anderson, about the months he endured capture by the Hezbollah in Lebanon. I read that poem several years ago but the vivid image of fear has stayed with me ever since. It changed me and made me broaden my knowledge of foreign affairs, politics and diplomacy.

I believe the impact is change, be it becoming more caring, less trusting, more fearful, less frugal or more loving. Poetry can certainly plant the seed for such change.

B.K. Birch’s publishing credits include Wildchild Publishing with two Editor's Choice Award wins, Copperfield Review, Penwomanship, Bygone Days, Mid-South Review and Emerging Women Writers. Her poetry has been published extensively in the U.S. and abroad. She also writes book reviews for Midwest Book Review and She is the founding editor and publisher of The Scruffy Dog Review. Visit her website here.


  • At 5:00 AM, Blogger Tigris Lily said…

    I just discovered your blog this AM while browsing from my own. It's great to know there are people who still appreciate prose and poetry. I checked into a few of your other posts, as well. I'll be back.

    Tigris Lily
    Notes of Sarcasm from the Forum


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