Here with me today is Loren Kleinman, a young, American-born poet with roots in New Jersey. Her poetry explores the results of love and loss, and how both themes affect an individual’s internal and external voice. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex (UK). Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Nimrod, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. She was the recipient of the Spire Press Poetry Prize (2003), was a 2000 and 2003 Pushcart Prize nominee, and was a 2003 Nimrod/Pablo Neruda Prize finalist for poetry.
In 2003, Spire Press (NYC) published her first collection of poetry Flamenco Sketches, which explored the relationship between love and jazz. Kleinman judged the literary entries for the book Alt-History: New Writing from Brighton published by QueenSpark Books (UK). She was also a contributing editor/writer for the Cancer Dancer by Patricia San Pedro. Kleinman is also a columnist for IndieReader.com (IR) where she interviews NYT bestselling indie authors. Many of those interviews in IR reappeared in USA Today and the Huffington Post.
Her second collection of poetry, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, is due to release in 2014 (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014). She is also working on a New Adult literary romance novel, This Way to Forever, and a collection of interviews and essays that explore the vibrant community of indie authors (Publisher: IndieReader).
Kleinman will be presenting a two-day seminar at Sentences 5: A Conference on Writing Prose at Drew University in July 2013. Kleinman also owns and operates a small, boutique editorial firm, LK Editorial, where she edits poetry, offers social media services, and instructional design consultations.
What motivates you to write?
Connecting with readers, and at the same time connecting with myself. I think that writing is a passage that allows you to explore the relationship between our internal and external wilderness. I love being able to speak a truth, but through someone else’s lips such as in fiction, or be totally irreverent in poetry. Writing just does it for me. It’s my first love. If I had to give it up, it would be like cutting off my arm. I need it.
What are your current and future projects?
Right now I’m trying to add more pieces to my upcoming poetry collection, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, which will be published by Winter Goose Publishing for 2014. I’m also working on a collection of essays and interviews with IndieReader.com for 2014. I’m hoping to publish my New Adult romance novel with Swift Ink by 2014 too, but if not expect it by 2015.
What authors/poets have influenced you?
This question always stumps me because there are just so many! Ok, let’s see if we can do this thing: Sylvia Plath, Francisco Goldman, Franz Wright, David Foster Wallace, John Green lately, Shakespeare, H.D., Langston Hughes, Sonia Sanchez. So many more (so many).
Describe a typical day for you:
Get up at 7, breakfast (fruit shake), full time job, and home by 6, workout, dinner, and writing for at least two hours. Repeat cycle. I’m pretty regimented. I have to be because I have to get my writing in, regardless if it’s 2 words or 2,000. I’m committed to completing my projects. And don’t get me wrong, I have fun doing it, but if I don’t write then I can get my work out there. And that’s so important to me. If you’re not writing then you’re not a writer.
If you didn’t write, what else would you do, and why?
Probably wander around aimlessly in some city, completely lost, waiting for writing to find me again. I couldn’t imagine that, not writing. I think it’s been discovered as part of the genetic make-up, this writing gene (I think).
Where does your inspiration come from?
Everything and anything. The world is full of inspiration. I mean, let’s face it, sometimes I get burnt out and recognizing the inspiration is difficult. So that’s when I step back and take a break. Breaks are good. I think breaks facilitate the discovery of fresh and new things to write about. I always tell writers, it’
Your favorite authors? Poets?
My favorite poet, Franz Wright. I read Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, every week. I let other books in to. But I can’t help but to completely lose myself in that book, and I’m always finding new images.
How do you see yourself?
I always have difficulty with questions like these. I see myself as a writer first, and a person second. I’m very dedicated to my work, but I’m also dedicated to love in the sense that I love my family despite all of our baggage and faults, I love my friends and accept them for who they are. I try to practice love every day whether it’s loving myself, my work, or the fabulous people in my life. I see myself happy. It’s taken a long time, and sometimes I take a step backwards, but I’m only human.
What part of writing do you love? Hate?
Writing something and then looking back and saying, shit, I really screwed that up. But I also find solace in revision. It’s the part where the real work happens, but also allows you to discover your work in new ways. The discovery is important. Some people say the original draft is where it’s at, and I agree, but I also learn more from the exploration of revision.
Do you have any advice for new authors/poets?
Don’t EVER get discouraged. It’s just resistance. Don’t fall into that trap that “you’re crap,” too. Trust yourself, trust your voice, and trust the process. If you’re going to write, you’re going to have a tough hide, and not everyone is right. It took me seven years to hunker down and revise my recent collection, and when I finally got it to 90% at least 20 publishing houses and even more journals rejected me. I even got back a long letter from a publisher telling me not only that my work sucked by why it sucked. Seriously. It was at least 15 pp of why I suck at writing. I wrote back, “Thank you for your review. I appreciate your time.” Brush it off. “Next,” I tell myself. Remember, publishers take on poetry not for profit, but because they fall in love with the manuscript. It’s a labor of love. Just trust your own voice. No one ever did anything great by drawing inside the lines. At least, no one worth reading. Just sayin’.
Thanks for being here today Loren, and I wish you great success with your work!
You can find more about Loren and her work by visiting her on the interwebs!
Listen to her Poetry: http://lorenkleinman.com/listen-to-my-poetry/