TH: I write for me. I write because I am selfish—a selfish poet. I write because there is something intensely ironic and humane about being human. I write to lift up the heaviness of tangibility, to keep my thoughts light and my breathing deep. I write for my children, to show them that being selfish has a place and makes you more accessible to those you love. I write to uncover sympathy and turn it over, to expose the soft belly of empathy, to peel away layers of hardness, and to be someone’s friend when they need me. I write to relieve the busy-ness behind my eyes, the thoughts that keep me awake when I should be sleepy, and the unsettled havoc of the work week.
VAH: I enjoyed the poetry of your response. Tell us, why did you become a writer and when did you know or feel like you were a writer?
TH: I’ve been writing poetry since I was five or six years old. I have always loved words—in fact, my mother tells everyone I was born with a pen in my hand. I wrote hundreds of poems before turning twenty, most of which I should say were good practice, but nothing notable. I’ve kept them all and I do look back on them from time to time. Writing has always been a part of my life and directed all aspects of it, from my education as an English major to using technical writing to forward my career in the software industry.
VAH: I think most of us have those reams of dusty files tucked away with our first explorations in writing. You’re brave though, to go back through them! Your mom says you were born with a pen in hand, any influences?
TH: The poets I admired growing up certainly influenced me the most, specifically Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg and the other Beat poets, and of course, Emily Dickinson. On a more personal level, I had some exceptional professors in college, some of whom became good friends and have been very supportive and encouraging.
VAH: What do you remember about your piece of writing? What was it about and what prompted its creation?
TH: I think my very first poem had something to do with church and family and was accompanied by a crayon drawing which I created as a gift for the clergy of our church. Since it was a gift, I no longer have it, but I remember being proud of it.
VAH: Well, seems that gift was blessed in your continued success as a poet. Do you a favorite piece that you’ve written to date?
TH: My favorite poem that I’ve written is “Waiting Around.” It was inspired by Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around” and in the process of writing it, I very much enjoyed closely reading and studying Neruda’s poem. Often, the process of creating is my favorite part of writing, much more than the finished work itself.
VAH: The journey verses the destination or perhaps the work verses the end product? A good place to pause and interesting idea to consider.
More with Trish Hopkinson later in the month.
Visit Verse-Virtual for a sampler of Trish Hopkinson’s poetry.
Trish Hopkinson contributes to the writing community with her blog where she shares interesting writing tips, articles, calls for submissions (no fee only), and other info to help promote writing and poetry in general. She has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry Review, Chagrin River Review, and Reconnaissance Magazine. She is a project manager by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures online at her website, or Facebook or visit her on Linkedin.
Three by Five interviews publish on days that end in 3!