Poet Ren Powell (Mercy Island) talks with poet and mental health worker Tim Mayo in a fascinating podcast interview that you can listen to on SoundCloud. Ren is doing a series of podcasts with other writers , called "This Choice," in which she seeks to understand "how their work with poetry influences the choices they make in their daily lives."
In this intelligent and penetrating interview, Tim Mayo talks about his beginnings as a poet as a young man who grew up in foster care, was adopted, and then studied literature in college. After this came many years in which he did not write, for reasons he discusses. He returned to poetry later in life, able to write about those earlier experiences with some detachment, which he calls less a cathartic experience than an attempt to create, in each poem, a work of art. For him, poems tend to be narrative, and always to tell a story: his new book with Phoenicia, Thesaurus of Separation, is full of such poems.
Ren and Tim also discuss the differences between "necessary solitude" and loneliness, with Tim speaking of the need for "a barrier between yourself and distraction" which he often didn't have as a younger man, as well as the development of "the inner resources necessary to sit and write on his own," speculating that the instability of his childhood might have made that impossible for him earlier on.
The interview concludes with a moving reading by Tim, and discussion about what inspired and influenced those particular poems.
Having worked with both Ren and Tim to publish their work, I was fascinated by this discussion, which covered territory we had not in our own meetings. It's great that Ren is doing this beautifully-produced series, and I can't recommend the podcasts highly enough for anyone who is interested in poetry and poetic process.
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