Every week, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I’ll be featuring one dark poet on my blog. This week’s poet is Horror Writers Assocation’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Linda D. Addison.
Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of five collections, including The Place of Broken
Things written with Alessandro Manzetti, & How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your
Friend, recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award, HWA Mentor of the Year and SFPA
Ronald J. Murray: Tell me what drew you to writing poetry.
LDA: I often feel like poetry picks me I didn’t take it. When I was younger I loved fairytales and Children’s stories and they all have a sort of musical rhythm to them which I loved. When I got older I read everything I could get my hands on and I was very drawn to fiction that had a sort of music to it which is how poetry feels to me and of course I fell in love with poetry because of that.
RJM: What does your process for writing poetry look like?
LDA: There’s basically two paths to my creating a finished poem. The first is that I’ve been
keeping journals since 1969 with every idea, thought, etc. that crosses my mind. I often go to my journals to use bits and pieces to build poems.
The other way is when I have a call to create for an anthology theme. Since I believe that all of
my poetry comes to me organically from my subconscious I just plant some word image in there related to the theme, then I’ll do a lot of reading around that word/concept in a nonfiction way. So much nonfiction/science gives me energy when I start thinking about writing poetry.
I use the same approach when I am writing a poem that isn’t for a theme. In reading around a
subject it’s kind of like following the yellow brick road, one word or fact might lead me to look
up something else which leads me to work up look up something else. And then suddenly I will
start feeling energy build and I start writing.
I always write wildly no matter which kind of poem I’m writing, I just let everything out. Also
for themed poems I will go to the stack of bits and pieces that I’ve collected over the years and
see if any thing there gives me energy.
Once I have a crazy first draft I’ll start shaping the poem for the story, the message, the form that I think will work best. I can go through several drafts before I finally find a version of the poem that I’m happy with. The way I decide is a poem is finished I read it out loud and make
adjustments until it sounds and feels right in energy and words.
RJM: Are there any classics that influenced your work?
LDA: The first children fables that were read to me in school really ignited my imagination and I was very into animals that hearts and ventures with creatures. Then in junior high and high
school I discovered Shakespeare, Ralph Ellison, Edgar Allen Poe, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and a whole slew of science-fiction authors. The big things that I remember standing out to me was the sound of music in the writing and the imaginative edgy
RJM: Are there any contemporary poets that you admire?
LDA: Whew, there are so many, each year I discover new poets that inspire me. To name a few, I’m inspired by poetry from Jacqueline Johnson, John Edward Lawson, Cindy O’Quinn, Stephanie Ellis, Wrath James White, John Reinhart, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Sheree Renée Thomas, Brandon O’Brien, Jezzy Wolfe, Akua Lezli Hope, Eugen Bacon, Sumiko Saulson, John Urbancik, Christina Sng, Marge Simon, Mary A. Turzillo, Colleen Anderson, Angela Yuriko Smith, Sara Tantlinger, Jessica McHugh, Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn.
Also, there are poets I’ve written collaborative poems with who I love their individual work:
Jamal Hodge, Maxwell I. Gold, Alessandro Manzetti, Charlee Jacob, Stephen M. Wilson, and
I’ve dedicated poems to poets Scott Nicolay, Tom Piccirilli, Jill Bauman, Natasha Bennett, and
RJM: Which achievement as a poet do you consider your most valuable?
LDA: There are so many high points. Certainly, the latest incredible honoring (that I didn’t see
coming) was becoming the 2020 Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry for the Science Fiction and
Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA).
RJM: Which of your poems evoked the strongest emotional response from you as you wrote it?
LDA: Needless say, every poem that I’ve written has some deep version of emotion in me. One is my latest poems I think about almost every day that touches my heart is Summer Time(lessness) (which received the SFPA 2021 Short Poem Rhysling Award) which was inspired by my mother singing Summer Time to us when I was young.
Two of my latest poems, one in print, Neo-Americans (in “Black Fire—This Time” anthology
curated by Dr. Kim McMillon) and one coming out in July (in “HWA Other Terrors” anthology
edited by Vince A Liaguno & Rena Mason) were inspired by my looking at the history of African-
Americans in this country from when we were brought here as slaves and then the deep-rooted racism that we still live with in this country.
RJM: Has the emotional impact with any of your work changed as time has passed?
LDA: Certainly over the last 30 years I have learned how to open up to poetry inside and trust
the message and music. I continue to allow the authentic emotions inside of me have a place
through my writing.
RJM: What is your favorite genre of poetry to read? Do you stick with horror, or do you venture beyond the genre?
LDA: Honestly I’ve never really think about what genre the poetry is, I just like to read poetry that invokes energy and emotion in me. I will poetry define this genre and I also read poetry that would not be defined as genre.
RJM: Do you have any speculative poetry collections in your TBR pile?
LDA: Yes, some are: Black Moon by Eugen Bacon, Mud Cloth Roots by V. S. Chochezi &
Staajabu, finishing: The Future of Black (Afrofuturism, Black Comics & Superhero poetry),
Obsidian magazine (latest issue), Into The Forest And All The Way Through by Cynthia Pelayo.
RJM: Are you working on anything now and can you share any details with us?
LDA: I’m excited about work coming out this year in anthologies: HyBriD, HWA Other Terrors,
Human Monsters, Sorghum and Spear, The Drive-In: Multiplex (A Tribute to Joe R. Lansdale),
Writing Poetry in the Dark and Chiral Mad 5.
RJM: Where can we find you online?
LDA: You can find me at my site: www.LindaAddisonWriter.com and Twitter: @nytebird45