Good morning everyone! Each month I will post a two part feature. The first part will be an interview with the month’s author and include a short bio. The second part of the feature is a sample of the writer’s work. Sounds fun right?

Everyone give a big welcome to February’s writer, a former professor of mine at Arcadia University who writes primarily poetry. *claps*

 

Meet Michelle Reale.

Michelle Reale.jpg

Michelle Reale is an Associate Professor at Arcadia University.  Her work has appeared in a wide variety of venues both online, in print and anthologies.   She is the author of four collections of poetry and two collaborative collections.  Her book of poems, titled Birds of Sicily will be published in 2016 by Aldrich Press.  She conducts ethnography among African refugees in Sicily and blogs about her experiences at www. sempresicilia.wordpress.com.  She also maintains I, Introvert, a blot explicating and extolling living the life of an introvert at www.iintrovert.wordpress.com    Her interested are all things Italian-American, ethnography, auto ethnography, poetry, narrative, reading, librarianship, writing , walking and birds. She lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her dog Miso. 

 

Now onto the interview…

 

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

“I have never experienced writer’s block!  I think one of the reasons is that I have made writing , in one form or another, a daily practice,  The advice to “write everyday” is scorned by some, which I never really understood.  If you want to play an instrument or a sport, you do it everyday! Writing is a muscle that develops over time.  Writing deserves a bit of your time everyday.  If someone is having trouble breaking through to an idea while in the midst of a project,  then write in your journal!  They only way through a roadblock is to simply move through it.”

 

Where do your ideas come from?

“Really and truly, from every day life!  I am very, very interested in the quotidian—the things that other people find boring.  I find every day people and every day life, magnificent in a variety of ways.  I think that Virginia Woolf was a writer, more than any other that I have every read , who understands the power of the every day, the small moments.  I will often seen young writers’ stories full of drama: car crashes, wars, rapes, etc—-things they  may know nothing of, because so many of their ideas are coming from what they see on television.  But really, great writing begins with something that we know, intimately and deeply—it comes from inside of us and then we relate it to something on the outside.  Once I was riding the train into the city and I could write an entire book on what I observed.  For instance, I observed a man who was in some kind of work uniform, who slept so deeply.  His hands looked permanently stained with grease, his face was sunburnt, lines etched deeply in his cheeks. The conductor woke him at his stop. It was obvious that this man was exhausted after a long day.  That he probably sleeps every day on the train.  That the conductor knows he needs sleep and watches out for him.  I wrote all of these details in my notebook.  Someday I will write a poem about it.”

 

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

“I was  professional reviewer for many years.  My thoughts as a writer are much different than my thoughts as a reviewer, especially now that I have several books of my own!  Occasionally I wil still review, but only if I like a book.  I have no interest in knocking a writer. A bad book takes as long as  a good book to write.  One of my books received 3 stars out of 5.  I shrugged.  No biggie.  On to writing the next book!”

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest poem/story?

“No, never.  I am always on to the next poem!”

 

Do you learn anything from writing your poems/stories, if so, what is it?

“I learned that writing deserves my time, that it is a worthwhile craft. That writing poems helps me to make sense of my life. That writing an reading poetry is a beautiful way to spend a life!”

 

What are you currently working on?

“I will have another collection published this year that I just finished called Birds of Sicily. Also in the words is a collection called Terra Ballerina (Dancing Earth) based on the 1908 earthquake in Sicily, the worst ever, in recorded history in the region.”

 

 

She has two blogs!

Find her here to read about her work with refugees in Sicily.

Find her here to read about living the introverts life.

Find her on Twitter

 

Check back tomorrow to see Michelle’s poem entitled

East Vineland, New Jersey, 1930 published in THRUSH Poetry Journal!