Speed Interviews: Poets from AWP: Carol Willette Bachofnerby Rachel Dacus • 04.28.2010
During the annual AWP conference in Denver in April, Fringe contributor Rachel Dacus asked a few poets a few questions. Over the next few days, Fringe will be posting their responses–enjoy!
Our second AWP interview is with Carol Willette Bachofner. Carol is poetry editor of Pulse Literary Journal. She received her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College, has taught college English, and resides in Rockland, Maine. Her books are Daughter of the Ardennes Forest (2007) and Breakfast at the Brass Compass (2009).
Fringe: When did you first become interested in poetry?
I wrote my first poem when I was six, in the sand, with a stick. I was heartbroken that the ocean came and ate it. My father said, “Do you still have it in your head?” I said I did, and he said it wasn’t gone. And I still remember it.
Fringe: Which poets or poems have influenced your work?
First and foremost Richard Wilbur. His poem “Love Calls Us to the Things of this World” is, I think, a perfect poem. I read it about once a week. B.H. Fairchild, amazing poet, amazing mentor. Ednay St. Vincent Millay keeps me centered on form. Dana Gioia. Those are my staples.
Fringe: What is your favorite milestone in your poetry career?
Getting published in Prairie Schooner. I was in my MFA program and had written a kind of quirky poem for me. My advisor told me to throw it away, but I started sending it out and Prairie Schooner took it. That was a turning point for me. I realized it wasn’t about somebody else’s point of view, it was about the writing and how I encountered language.
Fringe: Do you participate in poetry workshops regularly?
I go to one every summer and I teach them. I have fourteen different workshops in my curriculum and rotate them. The next one I’m doing is called “Psalms and Elegies and Loss.”