interviews

Interview – Kristin Roedell

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been writing and publishing poetry for about six years. I’m a strange breed, a lawyer poet. This is not an oxymoron, but close to it. I’m retired, and live in an old farmhouse is technically in Winlock, Washington (the only Northwest destination without a coffee stand). We use cell phones for all our calls because the telephone poles don’t come out this far. In the town’s only store they sell camouflage gear and venison. I guess what I’m saying is that we live in the sticks.

When you create, what inspires you?

My husband trains his border collies to herd sheep competitively. He’s a wizard with his hands, thus we never need a plumber, a carpenter, a roofer, etc. My daughter is a short story writer and Harry Potter fanatic. She can crochet the hell out of anything. I’m a poet, here in my room with my cat on my lap, on the porch in an old lawn chair listening to the quiet, or sneaking a cigarette out with the alpacas, Sonia and Opal. I tend to be inspired by loss, the dark side of the self, and what chances we have for resurrection. It is a weakness of mine to carry my past without resolution.

Tell us about the specific inspiration behind one or each of your accepted piece.

One of my poems is titled “Limbs Leaving Stuttgart in a Bag”. My father is a retired heart surgeon. He was drafted during the Vietnam War, and we lived on an Army Base in Frankfort, near the hospital where the injured soldiers were airlifted for surgery. (Ultimately the hospital was relocated to Stuttgart, ergo the title.) The poem recognizes that my father did not return from the war without injury. Soldiers came through in such numbers that he felt a lot of guilt that he couldn’t manage their care after he “sewed them up”. The poem centers around this guilt, and the long-term effects of his grief.

What is your medium of choice? Why?

I find that I enjoy poetry for its craft. I enjoy the use of language to create beauty, and the necessity of being spare with words. It’s a challenge to find words that balance and roll off the tongue easy, but will also create serious thought over morning coffee. I dabble in drawing and oil painting, but they fall such a far second that it scarcely bears mention. I usually draw from a still picture, but my poetry is distinctly my own. It bears an inner stamp that is discernibly mine.

How did you first discover your love for creating?

I started writing when I was ten or eleven. I’ve kept a journal since the age of twelve. I now have about twenty of these, stored so deep the pages whisper. I wrote poetry in them, some of which is not half bad.

fēlan is old English for feel. What makes you feel anger?

I realize I feel angry at a lot of things. Trump is president, the environment is deteriorating, but I’m still most angry about things near to me. My daughter has inherited my propensity to depression. As my poem “From Six Feet Under I Told You So” mentions, she recently made a serious suicide attempt, and has returned to live at home while receiving treatment. I feel very angry that she’s been visited by this dark angel; I’d hoped I could protect her from that.

Please feel free to add anything else you think is relevant.

I find that at this time in my life that I feel safe with the ordinary. I am a wife and a mother, I make the beds and sweep the kitchen, I put pen to paper when the chores are done. During my career as a family law attorney, everything was dire and explosive. Although my daughter’s pain is also dire, it’s familiar pain. I find myself hoping as I do the laundry that my prayers over folding the sheets are heard. Perhaps healing lies in the simple and plain, the decision to proceed through the day. It’s what I’m going with.

sigridunset@comcast.net


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