Interview with Poet, Chris McCool

I am constantly amazed how writer's open up and share their stories with me.  Author of The Astronomy of  Ghost Chris Mccool shares his wisdom on life and poetry.  It's a very honest interview that delves into very heavy human emotions.  Check him out on Instagram @wilful_prisons and invest time in reading his very thoughtful pieces.

RMMW: We all must contend with an inner critic -- how do you contend with yours?

CM: I mostly try to be open and aware of limitations and places where I might need to bend in a different way. I look at poetry as more of an exploration or discovery. I don't ever write anything and think it's great, but I do comb over it and try to figure out how that I could make it better.

RMMW Have you ever been creatively blocked if yes, how did you over come it?

CM: Divorce is the answer that springs to my mind if I'm honest. I was married for about twenty years which meant I seldom really wrote. My focus was family and together really and after all of that blew up and went away, I just needed to write again for understanding events and to really stand in the mirror and not blink or look away. I would just grit my teeth and write.  I would try to write the words that prayed.
RMMW: Who is your favourite poet?

CM: I think that right now, it's between Galway Kinnell and Carl Sandburg as far as written words. Justin Sullivan of New Model Army is my favorite poet/artist of all though.

RMMW: Where does your inspiration come from?

CM: Mostly to be somewhere that is not here and maybe understand God.  I like poems that travel and take me somewhere. I hate reading poems about going to the mailbox or relationship crap. I'm more interested in tar-pits and lost souls or good places that are found too late. I don't need help with understanding the mundane. I need help with those things that I will never understand.

RMMW: When did you first start writing and, what attracted you to poetry?

CM: I was probably around 14 or 15 years old. I loved getting a good metal album and pouring over the lyrics and admiring the way that things were structured. I felt this way with poetry too, but it was a deeper dive. I loved the ones that were cloudy and obscure. Like some lost yet familiar language that I could feel and almost understand. I loved seeing how a poem was made and shaped. How any word could be different depending on the hands.

RMMW: How do you think you've evolved as a poet over the years?

CM: I don't know that I have. I probably need to. I had this idea once of being an Everyman sort of poet. Not writing with dictionary in my lap but, using common tongue and everyday words to say the greatest and hardest things. I liked the idea that anyone could be a poet. That even the milkman or cashier might have something they could say.

RMMW: Do you think Poetry has a purpose?  Is there something good poetry ought do?

CM: Maybe to help us when we don't know how to speak, or we don't know how to pray.

RMMW: Tell us a bit about The Astronomy of Ghosts?

CM: I think I was thinking of ghosts and how they might look at the stars. How we don't lose everything for it all to just stay lost. There were some pretty heavy things in there that I felt over the years. It was such a weight to carry it around and wonder if it would ever be born. I couldn't have done it on my own. I probably just would have continually revised it until I was dead.

RMMW:  What is the best experience you've gained through your writing?

CM: Probably just in the writing. In being a teenager holed up in my room with my universe of words. I definitely think it was worth more then. You could dream of the love if you shared its secret and what it all might one day mean.

RMMW: Do you have a process or place where you like to write and does a poem start life in long hand, notes or right to the computer?

CM: A poem starts in my mind. I might think of a line and stew on it for a day or so. I never know what it's going be. I use my phone for most all of my writing. It seems a lot more there and free within the moment than being some doofus in need of attention lugging his typewriter to the park. For me, what a poem really needs is just somewhere quiet to get born.

RMMW: If you had a super power what would it be?

CM: I'd want to be one of those feral mutant type creatures. Kind of more like Sabretooth maybe. Maybe just a man that could go undetected in the streets and be at home with all things wild.

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