Julie began the event with an interview. She's a terrific interviewer who makes sure she's very familiar with her guest's work and has her questions mapped out but is flexible enough to alter them or add to them as seems appropriate. She first asked Anne Marie how she came to poetry. Anne Marie told us that one day her high school English teacher, who hadn't been doing poetry with her students, was absent. Another teacher, one who wrote her own poetry, covered the class and simply read Whitman aloud to the class. And that lit the fire. English teachers, please pay attention to that! No one came in and did a brilliant analysis of Whitman; someone came in and simply read him aloud.
Julie asked Anne Marie what gave her the courage to delve into dark places in her poetry. Anne Marie paid tribute to her predecessors: Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton, Lucille Clifton. She said, "We don't write in a vacuum. We're part of a legacy."
Julie asked Anne Marie what she hoped people would take away from her work: Guts, the courage to face things, to do what you're afraid to do, to love.
When asked about her future plans, Anne Marie said she doesn't make plans. "The artist moves into the unknown." And she has no fear of that unknown.
We then moved to the reading part of the afternoon. Anne Marie read from Gloryland and She Heads into the Wilderness. She also read some poems from her forthcoming Red Deer, due out from Persea Books in 2015. The reading was followed by a Q&A with the audience asking the questions.
Thanks to Julie for bringing so many programs to writers. She runs a group called Women Reading Aloud. That program includes workshops, poetry with yoga, writing retreats to Spring Lake in NJ, and even a week-long retreat on an island off Greece. Check out Julie's website for more information.