As we enter the dog days of summer, I present to you the August Author of the Month, poet Myrna Stone, a resident of Greenville, Ohio, and an extraordinary writer. Her work has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. Please join me in welcoming her to the site!
What drew you to writing?
When I twelve years old, my father gave me a slim little volume entitled One Hundred and One Famous Poems. The first poem I read in it was “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. Before finishing the first stanza I had already fallen in love, with the music, the language, and the drama of its lines. I took to reading the lines aloud, which was a transporting experience, but one that also tested my brother’s patience beyond all reason. Somewhere in one of those readings, I decided that I was going to be a poet.
Which of the authors you have read has had the most effect or influence on your writing?
Without a doubt, Stanley Plumly has had the greatest influence on my poetry. The first book of his I ever read was Boy on The Step, which literally took my breath away. I didn’t know until I came to his book that a poet could take a simple moment of remembrance and elevate it, through sprightly and gorgeous language, into something downright indelible. Plumly’s art comes straight out of the Great Romantic lyrical tradition of John Keats and, like Keats’, his work sings.
What is your writing process?
I have never kept a journal, although there are times when I wish I did. I often jot down words that are new to me and that appeal because they have a certain resonance coming off my tongue, or a certain meaning that might open up into a poem. I also keep an ever-growing file under the title “Subjects to Write About” which involves historical people whose lives I find fascinating, as well as historical happenings. With every one of my books I’ve ended up writing to a “theme,” that is, after a certain number of poems are done – usually five or so – I see what my preoccupation is and then begin to write consciously to that. It makes for a more cohesive manuscript. I usually write a poem a month, and then revise the devil out of it, if necessary. However, when I was finishing my last book, Luz Bones, I produced six poems in one month because I wanted to enter the manuscript in a contest. As it turned out, I didn’t enter the contest, but those last six poems completed the manuscript that eventually became the book.
Just for fun:
Name a book you have read more than once. I’ve read a lot of books more than once, but there are four of permanent note that I continue to read and reread. They are Plumly’s Boy on the Step, of course, but also his biography of John Keats, entitled Posthumous Keats. I never tire, too, of B. H. Fairchild’s The Art of the Lathe and his Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest. All four of these books are moving and brilliant.
Name your favorite comfort or reward food. Reese’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Stone’s books are available at amazon.com .