Megan Baldrige | Interview

Kenneth P. Gurney. Tells us how you started in poetry? What age?

Megan Baldrige. Until he died recently,  I had a noble, big-hearted Black Lab; I started writing poetry about him a year and a half ago, at age 62, because I was fascinated with how little I understood him. And writing poetry helped me understand his dogness. Then I graduated to writing about Trump and women, boyfriends, the Rio Grande, the usuals.

KPG. What is your favorite breakfast?

MB. Coffee and huevos divorciados, with tomatillo salsa and salsa adovada. Sophias did it best.

KPG. Does your university degree influence your writing of poetry and how?

MB. Long ago, I studied Japanese Language and Literature and that lens of quietness and contemplation informs everything I do.

KPG. Is there any endeavor that you are passionate about outside of poetry? How does it enrich you?

MB. I love to work in a beautiful garden; I love to grown beautiful flowers, and delicious vegetables. The garden competes for time with poetry.

KPG. Tell about one of your favorite poetry experiences.

MB. Taking classes at Jules’ Poetry Playhouse: one with Jules herself on sestinas, one with John Roche on Black Mountain poets.

KPG. Do you have a connection to the American Civil War? Relative who served? Visited a battlefield and have a story?

MB. No connection other than a distant relative, a Union General named Luther Stephen Trowbridge [2nd link], who led a pursuit of Jefferson Davis for 69 days through the south without being resupplied. I admire his persistence and the fact that he had enlisted despite partially losing his eyesight at an earlier age.

KPG. If you could wave a magic wand and place a poetry book into every high school english classroom as required reading, which one would it be and why?

MB. Any of Ted Kooser’s books. [bio at Poetry Foundation]

KPG. Where was your last selfie taken?  With anyone?

MB. I don’t really understand selfies.

KPG. Recommend a poetry (or literary) website that you frequent.

MB. Rattle, (poetry without pretension) or so they say. They publish great contemporary poems.

KPG. What is your favorite National Park? Why?

MB. I don’t have a favorite.

KPG. Please tell about a dream that you work toward achieving at this time.

MB. My youngest 24-year-old son has graduated from college and come home recently, only to be felled by severe joint pain. My dream right now is that good doctors will be able to pinpoint what has happened to him and restore him to a pain-free life. And I’m learning to meditate, with him, so we can transcend pain.

KPG. If there is a little known poet you think everyone should read, who is that poet and suggest one book of theirs we should purchase?

MB. Hailey Leithauser wrote the delightful, funny lyrical Swoop [at Graywolf Press]. As my mom says, “She’s a keeper.”

KPG. If you could be present at any moment in history as a safe observer or unsafe participant, what event would you visit and why?

MB. I would have enjoyed being a prince at the 12th century court in the Japanese capital of Kyoto. Courtiers were accomplished artists who studied the tea ceremony and calligraphy and wrote poetry. Who wouldn’t want to be a wealthy practitioner of more than one art, dressed in a silk kimono?

KPG. What reoccurring themes or personal experience have you noticed in your poetry over the years?

MB. Since my poetry practice is only 1.5 years old, it’s been limited to bad dogs, bad boyfriends, and bad Trump.

KPG. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or some other sweet?

MB. Dark, of course.


2 thoughts on “Megan Baldrige | Interview

  1. The Labrador Retriever
    For Roister King Coal

    Catcher of Fish
    from Newfoundland’s
    icy mist
    into the laps
    of British queens
    and the fields
    of British kings

    New-world royalty
    Orion’s pepper
    ground from puppy mills
    comedic model T’s
    democratically give
    loyalty’s absolutions
    to please
    American masters–
    Noblesse Oblige

    Otter tails stiff
    thighs ashiver
    hock joints taut
    from dawn promontories
    into dream seas
    night into night

    Broad forechest heaves
    webbed paws pound
    autumnal ponds
    jet-black muzzles
    snuffle vapors
    of kill-fresh blood
    soft mouthing
    duck and geese lovers–
    Noblesse Oblige

    Misplaced sea lion
    steaming coat
    massive skull and ears
    cocked Napoleonic
    burnt-suger eyes
    unblinking cosmos
    retriever of souls


  2. Ms. Baldrige’s father was in Reagan’s cabinet. Don’t understand the irrational hatred of Trump, Here’s hoping she grows out of it. #neverHillary


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