“tick more slowly,” “Seeking Balance,” and “A Wheelchair named Prudence” by Meg Freer appeared in Issue 23 and can be read here.
What’s the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
Some people write with background music, but ideally I need silence and no one around. My biggest challenge is finding quiet times and places. Knowing when to stop tinkering and also when to end a poem are both difficult for me. I often try to explain and tie things up at the end in a neat package when in fact the poem ended several lines before.
What’s your favorite book published within the last decade?
I can’t pick one, because I like many genres, but I love the way Mitch Albom’s 2015 book The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto brilliantly weaves fact and fiction. One autobiographical book that stands out is Alexandra Risen’s Unearthed: Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden (2016), which chronicles family relationships, aging parents, and changes in the natural world. One of my favorite poetry books is Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms and Poems by William Stafford, published in 2014 by his estate. I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where Stafford was an occasional guest (he was one of my parents’ favorite professors at Lewis and Clark College), and his book A Glass Face in the Rain was one of the first books of poetry I owned and is still a treasured book of mine.
We’d love to hear a little more about “tick more slowly”.
I attended a public lecture on gravitational waves, given by Dr. Barish, one of the co-winners (along with Kip Thorne, consultant for the movie Interstellar) of the 2017 Nobel Laureate in Physics. I was able to follow the talk for a while and then Dr. Barish got carried away and got far too technical. So I started writing down random phrases from the talk and the slides, not with the specific intention of creating a poem, but just to keep me from falling asleep. When I looked at the notes later, I decided to take out some words but preserve the order and create something that paid tribute to the scientific achievement. The poem’s title refers to the phenomenon of time dilation, in which clocks close to a black hole will tick more slowly than clocks farther away. I got in touch with Dr. Barish to ask if he would approve my use of fragments of his talk. He was honored and very graciously allowed me to do so.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?
I could never pick one living author, but Kingston, Ontario is blessed with a large writing community, and I feel privileged to be able to go out for drinks and talk with many local authors—some famous and some not—and I enjoy every encounter as a learning opportunity.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
I seem to be in the mode of what a writer friend calls “the poetry of place”. I recently finished a set of poems relating to a former mining town, now a ghost town, near where I grew up in Montana. Next up: a poem that came out of a recent trip to New York City; one based on the plants and history of Belle Island here in Kingston; a poem or two based on my experiences in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia; and possibly a set of poems about the Okefenokee Swamp in the state of Georgia. Montana is never far from my mind, so maybe more poems about growing up there.
Our thanks to Meg for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read Meg’s poems “tick more slowly,” “Seeking Balance,” and “A Wheelchair named Prudence” here: https://www.sequestrum.org/poetry-from-meg-freer.
Meg Freer grew up in Montana and now lives in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches piano and enjoys running and photography. She has worked in book publishing, and her writing and photos have won awards both in North America and overseas. Poems and prose have been published in journals such as Young Ravens Literary Review, Ruminate, Eastern Iowa Review, COG and Rat’s Ass Review. In 2017 she won a fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.