Getting to know ed meek and his new book Spy pond
When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover that you wanted to write poems?
I started writing poetry in high school at the encouragement of my ninth grade teacher, Mrs.O’Connell and Edited the high school literary magazine. I continued to write in college and went on to get an MFA at University of Montana when Richard Hugo was there.
Do you have a writing routine? A favorite time or place to write?
I am prompted to write by a number of different factors: in response to poems by other poets, in response to art and quotes by artists and in response to nature and to events. I write poems out on paper and revise them on paper until they are at a point where I feel I can transfer them to the computer. I tend to write three or four poems at a time but I do not write poetry every day.
Where do your poems most often come from—an image, a sound, a phrase, an idea?
Sometimes it is the sound of a line, other times from ideas or a scene or an image.
Which writers (living or dead) do you feel have influenced you the most?
Emily Dickenson, Robert Frost, Theodore Roethke, Richard Hugo, Billy Collins, Pablo Neruda, William Stafford, Sharon Olds, Yeats, Whitman.
Tell us a little bit about your new collection: what's the significance of the title? are there over-arching themes? what was the process of assembling it? was is a project book? etc.
The title, Spy Pond, refers to a pond in Arlington that I often jog past. There’s a sign at the pond saying that it was a great source of ice in the 1800s and it struck me that it was yet more evidence of climate change. A number of the poems do touch on climate change and our relationship to nature, others range from the political to the personal. They were written between 2006, when my last book (What We Love) came out and 2014.
Read a sample poem from Spy Pond and view a recording here:
The Word Present
--Rhinoceros, now that’s a one word poem.
Her sister Sarah gave her a word present for Christmas
and now she was unwrapping it for us
in a wedding toast. She was the Maid of Honor—
the successful older sister.
She admitted she’d worked too much
and lost her husband, ate too much
and lost her figure. Now
she was rebalancing the scales
because she wanted what her sister Sarah had.
And she wanted to be able
to give her a word present.
And the word--balance--
with equal weight on both sides
and the “l” stretched like a tightrope
in between, exactly
what she lacked in her life.
Yet she returned the gift unused.
Though she sorely needed it,
she didn’t like hearing it
from her younger sister.
And now I’m giving it, with love,
to you, friends:
But isn’t it presumptuous
to give someone a word
as a present? Doesn’t it assume
that you know what the person needs
or wants or deserves
and that it is embodied in a word
that the recipient is somehow
yet will benefit from,
see the import of,
and take to heart?
Is it a word poem, then?
Are poems presents?
Boxes of words
wrapped in books?