Q&A in Carve Magazine:
What was the initial inspiration for "Paint by Number"?
I wanted to write a collage poem about how people have a habit of ranking things — the items on their bucket lists, their favorite foods, their favorite sports teams. After a bit, my mind jumped to those painting sets you can purchase at the hobby store, where someone has numbered something for you, and you the consumer are expected to follow their suggestions. I tried to apply paint-by-number instructions with my initial idea for a collage poem.
Q&A in the North American Review:
How did you come up with this idea?
I was in an online poetry boot camp and had a few hours to come up with that Tuesday poem. Everything I had written that day stunk like raw fish baking on a dry dock. I overheard my children discussing their favorite movies at the time. My oldest said “Little Mermaid” and my middle said “Sleeping Beauty” and my youngest said “Snow White.” When I asked my youngest why, she said the wicked stepmother had the best laugh. And a poem was born.
Q&A in "O at the Edges" (a blog by Robert Okaji):
Why do you write?
I’ve been writing poems since I was 9 years old. It’s who I am: a poet. I write nonfiction and I write short stories and novels and I do so because I have this desire to communicate. I am interested in all kinds of forms. And I love to read, which is probably why I live to write. I’m trying to write the stories and the poems I haven’t read yet.