In celebration of National Poetry Month, members of the Guilford Poets Guild were invited to share their thoughts about poetry and the life of a poet. Here’s what poet Norman Thomas Marshall had to say:
How did you come to being a poet?
Who says I am? I write down thoughts and images as they occur. If they are longer than a page, they are prose. Shorter than that, they are either poetry or trash.
Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
Seventh grade. Christmas poem. Denounced childhood greed.
What else do you write besides poetry?
Do you have other creative pursuits
What has been the defining moment in your life as a poet/writer?
When my friend Burt, who was reading a bit of my prose, not knowing I had written it, said a nice thing about the writer.
How long have you been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and what’s that like?
Three years. I am a benefactor of nepotism.
What inspires your writing today?
The hope of being noticed and complimented.
Describe your poem-writing process.
When the breeze blows a verse my way I seize it, suck its blood, disembowel it, devour it and claim divine inspiration.
Where do you like to write?
In my little antic garret where I watch the sun rise and the bluebirds cavort.
My ‘Word’ program. I cannot write longhand because nobody, including me can read my handwriting.
Who are you favorite poets and authors?
Chaucer, Clemens, Faulkner, Dylan Thomas, Ronald Tavel, Gwen Gunn.
What book are you currently reading? (poetry or not)
Eleanor by Gray Jacobik, Gilgamesh.
Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated during National Poetry Month in April. What’s your favorite poem to carry about or share with others?
I am regarded as a very masculine dude. I would not be caught dead with a poem in my pocket.
Any last words?
We’ll find out when I croak.
Norman Thomas Marshall is a veteran of thirty-two years as a professional actor. He has participated in more than three hundred productions — stage, film, television and radio — as actor, producer or director. Marshall has shared the stage and screen with such notable performers as F. Murray Abraham, Raul Julia, Moses Gunn, Bette Midler, Peter Reigert, Burt Reynolds, Telly Savalas, Barbara Streisand and Fritz Weaver. He has also appeared numerous times in a variety of daytime television dramas and is a familiar voice for some of the animated spots shown on the popular children’s TV program Sesame Street. (Photo by Pam Johnson, Guilford Courier)