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 Ed Walker had to say:
How did you come to being a poet?
I’ve always written, mostly journals, but I remember a short story I wrote when I was 10 or so. When I was a teenager I began writing songs and poems.
Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
I can’t remember any ‘first’ poem, but I do remember letters that I wrote to my girlfriend, now wife for 45 years, from a Colorado mountain top. Those letters were poetic, or at least I thought so. That mountaintop was where I decided to go back to school to pursue an English degree.
What else do you write besides poetry? Do you have other creative pursuits?
I enjoy playing guitar almost daily. I journal, especially during summer months when our kids and grandkids are around. My favorite creative pursuit is surfing. Paddling out into an ocean and riding waves is the ultimate, timeless, creative place. The ocean is so different every day. Every wave is different, a fresh page to create on, a clean slate. What’s the saying ‘you can never step into the same river twice’. Like that.
What has been the defining moment in your life as a poet/writer?
My defining moment as a poet is right now, being a member of the Guilford Poetry Guild. I look forward to our bi-weekly meetups to connect with the other poets and share in the process of critical reading our original poems. I constantly learn new ways of seeing things. This is where I’m most immersed in the craft of poetry. It also spurs me on to write a poem every 2 weeks.
How long have you been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and what’s that like?
I first joined the group in the late 70s. We weren’t yet a guild. I left the group probably mid 80s, when I started my business in Guilford, but I still had a connection with the other poets. I returned to the group in the ought’s when I retired.
What inspires your writing today?
I find inspiration throughout the day, just going through the day. If I’m lucky I grab a line or 2 that trots through my head, and write it down on my phone.
Describe your poem-writing process.
The process of writing poetry intrigues me. I wonder how other poets write. I guess the good ones have a regular schedule and work at it like any job. I don’t. I’m more of a cobbler than a writer. When I worked I would dictate lines into a Dictaphone, pre-iPhones, to listen to and write down. Now, I gather up my notes every once in a while and see what fits with what. My favorite part of writing though, is editing all my poems regularly and watch how they change, as I do. This seems to be my thing, my process.
Where do you like to write? With what?
During winter months I might find myself in the Guilford Library, or above the garage in a comfy room, or sitting by the fire in our living room typing on my laptop, listening to music, a white dog laying under my outstretched legs. During the summer months I can be found on my deck, after my morning surf session, in a hanging chair with my laptop at hand, music on the stereo, a wet dog at my feet.
Who are you favorite poets and authors?
When I returned to School, after a few year absence, I immersed myself in poetry. The Beats were my jam. Their poetry and novels. Presently I’ve come to enjoy reading modern poets, from Dickinson and Whitman, to John Ashbury and Lorine Niedecker.
What book are you currently reading? (poetry or not)
Currently, I’m reading a Randy Wayne White book, one of my favorite Florida writers, who deals with mystery and mayhem.
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?
My favorite poem is titled Kindness, by Witter Bynner. It’s about a Hawk lifting a fish out of the water and giving it air.
Ed Walker was born in Brooklyn and moved to Guilford, CT in 1977, with his wife Laury, where they raised four children and a few Labrador retrievers. Ed has a degree in English and one in Business and was founder and CEO of East River Energy, Inc. He is an active member of the Guilford Rotary Club, the Guilford Poets Guild and he enjoys surfing, sailing, playing guitar, and writing poetry.