Cindy Huyser | Interview

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

Cindy Huyser. My earliest memory of writing poetry is from elementary school. My mother once sent me a packet of poems I’d written when I was about eight.

KPG. What is your favorite breakfast?

CH. This is a tie between migas (with corn tortillas, potatoes and beans) and an omelette with a side of gingerbread pancakes. And coffee!

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

CH. My undergraduate degree is in English (literature), while my graduate degree is in computer science. I would say the English degree definitely sharpened my interest in poetry, and exposed me to some lasting influences, including Sylvia Plath. Apart from that, I have a certain level of “word nerdiness” and technical nerdiness that comes with those degrees, and that those interests infiltrate my poetry.  But I didn’t become very serious about writing poetry until after my English degree.

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

CH. Contemplative photography is also a passion for me. Practicing it helps me see so much richness around me—richness that is always there, but that I don’t see when I’m caught up in a story line about what I’m seeing. Poetry also succeeds when it brings the reader to a new way of seeing.

KPG. Tell about one of your favorite poetry experiences.

CH. One of my favorite poetry experiences is to find myself transported, perhaps to a landscape I don’t quite understand. Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Imaginary Iceberg” comes to mind.

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

CH. Growing up near Detroit, we often went to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. Greenfield Village has the Logan County Courthouse in which Abraham Lincoln practice law as a traveling lawyer. For many years, the chair in which Lincoln was sitting when he was shot in Ford’s Theater was also housed in that building—seeing that chair made that period very real to me.

Some of my ancestors were in this country during the Civil War, but I don’t know of any who served.

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?

CH. Natasha Trethewey‘s Native Guard, for its deep sense of history, the deft ways in which the work approaches race and grief, and for its elegant craft.

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

CH. In front of the American Airlines stadium in Dallas, just before going in to watch the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals.

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


KPG. What is your favorite National Park? Why?

CH. This is an especially hard question! Denali National Park is probably my favorite for its vast size and all its wildlife. The park bus that takes visitors deep into the park, and will drop you off / pick you up on the way is an amazing way to get to experience it, and the drivers are great about stopping and identifying wildlife, and giving riders a chance to get a good look. I loved going on a ranger-led alpine hike at the visitor’s center, as well.

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

CH. I’m working toward getting a full-length manuscript published.

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?

CH. I would want to be present the first time the sun lit the inner chamber at Newgrange. The knowledge ancient people had about astronomy and solar/lunar movement continues to astound me, and I can’t help but believe that moment was utterly powerful.

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

CH. My poetry sometimes dwells in the intersection of human life with the mechanical world; there’s also interest in history, as well as in loss and aging.

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

CH. Dark chocolate, definitely.

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