When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was ten or eleven, I began to write a few poems. The satisfaction I felt when I finished a poem was a great motivation to keep going. One of my first poems was about an old woman knitting.
How do you schedule your life when you’re writing?
My schedule doesn’t change much whether I’m writing or not. I try to do something for writing daily, even if it’s not actual writing. For instance, I submit a poem or essay to a journal or work on revisions. I never write for long periods of time—at least not anymore. Ten minutes to an hour per day is standard, so it makes sense that I enjoy writing poetry and flash.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t have to have a favorite pen or beverage. I don’t play classical or coffeehouse music to write. I just sit at the kitchen table with a pad or at the computer to write. However, what is probably noteworthy is that although I write for short periods of time, I am pretty diligent about writing or doing writing business almost every day.
How did you get your book published?
I submitted this collection to the publisher as a chapbook with less than 25 poems, and by the time the publisher offered to publish the chap, I had already increased Rooted and Winged to a full-length poetry collection. I asked if they were still interested, and I am grateful that they were.
Where did you get your information or ideas for your book?
Most of the poems in Rooted and Winged arose from personal experience, mainly from my recent life in the Sonoran desert and from childhood memories, especially of my maternal grandparents in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I also am very fond of writing prompts and love the ones I find in Diane Lockward’s craft books, such as The Strategic Poet and The Practicing Poet.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to cuddle my cats, read (especially poetry, memoir, and mysteries), enjoy the garden my husband has created, and work on my junky art journals (sort of a cross between art journals and junk journals).
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
It was what I learned when I put the collection together that really struck me. I had no idea that the poems were so informed by images of wings/flight and rootedness. But when I noticed it, I realized how important that movement and friction between “heaven and earth” is to my imagination.
Is there anything you would like to confess about as an author?
I write a lot about family history and memory. My chapbook Kin Types was all poetry and flash nonfiction based on the history of my family, for instance. My confession is that as a kid, I wanted to get away from my family and adventure out into the “outside world.” If you had told me then how the memories of my early years and the stories of my ancestors would inspire me today, I would have said you didn’t know me at all.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I remember thinking that adults “be” rather than “do.” The title was what I focused on, and I didn’t really imagine what the day-to-day would be like. I always told people I wanted to be one or all of the “three As”: actress, author, and archeologist. After high school, I realized I would not like the lifestyle of an actress or an archeologist, but being a writer is a very convenient aspiration because I could do whatever else I wanted to do and still write!
How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Not well! I get upset at a negative comment in a review for a while, but I tend to get over things pretty fast. After all, I have been the grateful recipient of many beautiful reviews—probably more than I deserve!
The poems of Rooted and Winged explore the emotional and physical movement of flight and falling. They are of the earth, the place of fertile origins, and of the dream world we observe and imagine when we look upward. Golems and ghosts that emerge from the ground, as well as the birds and angels that live above us, inhabit the collection. We will always be striving for flight, even as we feel most comfortable closest to the earth.
Luanne Castle’s new poetry collection is Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line Press). Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her first collection of poetry, Doll God (Aldrich), won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, Tipton Poetry Review, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Saranac Review, Grist, and other journals.