In this episode we speak to the lovely poet and author Martina. We chat about her early love of poetry, the importance of outside influences to your work and how she goes about putting together a collection of poems.
You can hear more from Martina here: https://martinanewberry.wordpress.com/
And stay up to date with Yorick here: https://yorickradioproductions.com/
Hello and welcome to Page Parle. This is the show where we speak to authors or experts on the work we read on scintillating stories. Today we are speaking to Martina Reisz Newberry.
Would you mind telling our listeners a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Upland, California. That's about an hour east of Los Angeles. I'm the daughter of a steelworker storytelling father and an extremely gifted artist mother. I currently live in Los Angeles, I am La Slave and her most fervent fan. I love her. And so I often write inside her and about her. I've been married for 34 years, I have beautiful grown kids whom I adore. I love snack foods in champagne, in martinis and makeup and perfume and animals and scary movies.
So how long have you been writing.
I've been writing it all my life truly since I learned how to write, but I began. Taking my writing seriously when I was in my twenties. But I had been reading poetry since I was a child. I read everything Ex actually, my first inspiration though was Robert Lewis Stevenson's, a child's garden of verses.
I didn't even try to publish anything until my thirties, and then it was only submitting to a college publication at the university where I worked. But a little later on, I took a poetry workshop when I was, oh, maybe I. 35 and the poet who taught it an amazing poet by the name of Larry Kramer became my, my dear friend, my brother, my mentor teaching me so much about writing poems.
He has since passed and I have all my notebooks from our meetings and I refer to them often. I self-published a couple of books, and then I was very fortunately picking taken up by my current publisher. Dear Brook Editions.
Did you reach out to them or did they reach out to you?
And what was, what was that like?
I reached out to them. Someone bought one of the self-published books and said, you know, you ought to try and submit to some actual publishing places.
And suggested a couple to me and Dear Brook Editions was one of them. So I sent a book that I had put together called Learning by Rote, and, gosh, with the luck of the angels, they took it and they've been taking my.
Books ever since the publisher is Jeff Haste and he has a lot of faith in me. So, cause as you know, poetry doesn't sell a whole lot. So he's got a lot of faith in me and I'm very grateful to dear. Oh,
I'm really glad that you have a really good working relationship there. That's fantastic.
Yeah, it really is.
I feel so lucky.
What does your writing process look like when you sit down to write? What does that look like for you?
I have had the same process from day one. I get up fairly early go to my desk, I read something first.
My incredible husband makes coffee for us, but I might read some poetry maybe non-fiction, maybe fiction, something that has caught my interest and I read a bit. And take some notes and go to the previous days writing to look over to re-experience and edit it. And I usually spend an hour or two reading and editing.
And then I begin a new poem. I write until afternoon and then I have lunch. I write and edit in a notebook, pen and paper, and then I put it on computer.
So for you is the, the writing with pen and paper an important part of it, like that fir that being the first step?
It really is. Somehow the words come from my head to my fingers, to a pen to the paper.
I've had a couple of residencies in my past and while they were. Wonderful. I wrote there and it was wonderful to be involved in them. The comfort level. You're not in your own place. And so , I couldn't get absolutely relaxed or comfortable. They were wonderful as far as silence and space and, and those sorts of things.
But as far as being comfortable, like, I don't know, wanting to sit around in your pajamas or whatever, it, it, it, I couldn't get into that.
What about poetry as a medium really attracted you to it?
Poetry always seemed to me to say things so unusually. So interestingly worded. It described life's happenings in ways I hadn't thought of and in ways that really resounded with me. I remember when I first read the Poem Patterns by Amy Lowell. I just started, you know, praying to write that.
Well When I read Robert Burns, a Man's a Man for all that, I was so touched and found that it spoke to me as a working man's daughter. And so I realized that poetry brought words and thoughts to life. Also, I'm super shy and I'm very quiet around most people. I'm a a bit of a loner except for my husband's company, but I found that through poetry.
I was able to say freely what I thought and felt about things. The blank page doesn't look at my clothes or my wrinkles or the size of my nose. It just is there waiting. So it, it's freeing for me.
Is there a genre of poetry that you prefer, and if so,
Well, I am pretty much in love right now with Free Verse. But some of my favorite poets did beautiful rhyming, and I've learned so much about rhythm and, and music from reading their works. W h Oden Robert Frost. Robert Burns Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but for now, My favorite is Contemporary, fairly contemporary free verse.
I love Larry Leves, Gary Snyder Karen Greenbaum, Myam, Michael Arch Angelini, and Beth Copeland, Dyna Ross to name a few. Diana Ross Rosen.
For somebody who is completely new to poetry, how would you describe Free Verse to them?
Free verse for me means that I don't look for rhyme. I don't look for, for rhyming endings on words or rhyming lines. I don't look for that. I'm more free verses for me more thinking, thinking the story thinking what you wanna say. And not worrying about line breaks or rhyming. One thing about my writing that I learned from, my mentor was I don't write line breaks originally.
I usually write out what the poem is about or write the whole entire poem. I'll write that just as a paragraph and then I'll go back and look at it and say, where are the line breaks in this? Where do I breathe when I read it? So that's reverse for me.
Do you hope to inspire emotions or thoughtful responses in your readers when they go through your work?
Well, both actually. I like to think that my poems bring some kind of emotion from readers. I want them to feel something, joy, fear, nervousness, grief, anything. Thoughtful responses are very important to me, even if they're negative. If someone likes what I've written or is touched by it somehow, if, if it makes them remember something or bring back a love of someone or something, it's lovely of them to tell me.
So if they don't like it, I'd like to know that as well. If they found the poems too unsettling or too dark or not well done. I wanna hear it. I think my poetry grows from both kinds of soil.
That might be why your poetry is so enjoyable to read now as an external reader, because you have taken feedback both the positive and the negative, and you haven't shied away from it.
You've really dug down, like you said, into that soil and. Produced a really lovely poetic garden from it.
Oh, thank you so much. What a lovely thing to say. Thank you.
So you mentioned that you have put together several collections of poetry, so what is the process of putting together a collection of poetry like,
I like doing it. I like finding themes or similarities of mood in various it seems like I'm always working on a book. I have a bunch of themed files like love, romance family friendships, aging. Beauty, dreams, nature.
And I have a file marked miscellaneous for poems that make me wonder where I got them. But when I write a poem while I'm writing it, or just after I've written it, I ask myself, what is this really about? And will the reader get that from it? And as I decide to put together a book, I choose poems from those files based on how they fit together.
Like, Puzzle pieces to make a whole picture.
The closest I experience I would have of that is putting together songs into an album because there's an orchestration to the links between the works. So is that, slip between them something that you really
Absolutely. What a lovely, perceptive way you put it. I like to think sometimes of a book like a Sonata. So that you have poems going into it, poems that shake you up a little bit, poems that, even that out, and then ending poems.
Do you feel like you are a guide to the reader? You are taking them on this journey, and at the end, I often feel that when I finish a book, poetry or prose in a way, I've sort of had to stop talking to the author, if you know what I mean.
I do know what you mean exactly I think the best way to put it is that I like to feel that the reader is in the room with me and that I am able to, I don't know if guiding them is, but I'm able for them to hear my voice. And to relate. How their feelings are responding to that voice.
I think it's more a can you hear me? When you open the book and you look at the poems, can you hear me? And I like to think that, that I'm making the work accessible enough that they can hear me and that they can open themselves to it.
From your place of experience and, and your lived experience of writing, do you have any tips for aspiring writers of any age?
Read until your eyeballs fall out and then read some more I think readers, authors should read extensively before they begin to write and during their writing times.
I think they ought to read everything from poetry to science journals, to romance novels, to cookbooks. There is a story a poem. Everywhere in the world around us. And there is so much available for us to read and learn from. Another thing is to get in touch with other writers, find out what their process is, what they hope to do.
When I had my kids who needed me, I got up before the sun in road later I wrote on my lunch hours and at work and coffee breaks and buses and. Coffee shop. So I would say write anywhere you can write anywhere that's that, that you have a space to write and read. Just don't stop reading because it absolutely is a foundation for all of your, a creative.
Juices. I have heard people say things like, well, I don't read because I don't want it to influence my work. Let it influence your work. You, you could do worse. It's, it's those influences are, are fabulous, beautiful, creative geniuses who wrote things, read them. It won't hurt your work.
I take a lot of issue with the idea of the solo creative, the, the person who draws only from themselves. Because not only is that going to produce work that is incredibly insular and maybe your audience will not be able to relate to, but in addition, That's not the way that humans work.
We are a social species in all of our endeavors. Our job is to share our knowledge, share our experience, share our skills. I kind of think of it like throwing things ahead, not just between parents and children, but any. People in your life, you kind of go, okay, I got this, I gathered this from my experience.
Okay. Catch you, take it forward. Cause I can't keep walking,
Yes, that's exactly right. We are social beings. I get so many ideas from conversations that I hear that I overhear or that I'm having with someone. It tells me. What people respond to. If I'm just in the here all by myself and just ringing about me only it's gonna get pretty dull, pretty fast.
I'll have conversation with someone about Lost love like is somebody that they once love very much and how the thing went, you know? And I'll think to myself, that's how people respond to lost love I thought. They responded this way, but they don't always, this person is telling me another way they responded.
So when I write something about that then I've got the insight from somebody else I can reach out and try to touch that in readers.
If people would like to hear more from you or, or see more of your work
To purchase my books, folks in your part of the world can find them on Amazon uk. You just look for my name, Martina Reese Newberry, and in the US and Canada. Readers can afford order for me firstname.lastname@example.org. There's a bookstore tab on that site or from dear brook editions.com.
My publisher. Also my email address is martina newberry gmail.com and I can be reached there at any time for chatting or answering questions or taking suggestions. I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn. And also my husband is a gifted media creative. And for those people who like audio presentations, his can be email@example.com.
. Martina, thank you so much for coming to speak to us today. This has been a genuinely lovely conversation.
Oh, Rosie, thank you so very much for asking me.
You can hear more from Martina on her website I’ll leave a link in the description. If you want to stay up to date with the goings on here at Yorick Radio then you can follow us on social media, check out our website and subscribe if you would like to hear more.
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