Kenneth P. Gurney. Tells us how you started in poetry? What age?
Loretta Diane Walker. I have been fascinated with words since I was four or five years old. I was intrigued with Dr. Seuss’ books. Before I could read or write, I scribbled stories and poems with my fat pencil, filling pages with squiggly lines in my Big Chief tablet, and then told ten minute stories. I was seven when I wrote my first legible poem.
KPG. Does your university degree influence your writing of poetry and how?
LDW. Cindy Huyser asked me this questions. I am going to share with you what I shared with her. I have over six hundred little muses in my face Monday through Friday. Like my family, their lives are intertwined in my poetry. I get inspiration from the exchanges I have with my students and with the exchanges they have among themselves. I am often inspired by one of their expressions, a response to a class activity or question. In my book Word Ghetto, I have a section devoted entirely to my students. Those poems are based on conversations I had with students while doing lunch duty.
KPG. Is there any endeavor that you are passionate about outside of poetry? How does it enrich you?
LDW. I love music as much as I love words. When I was planning my career, music was the love that received all of my attention. Yet, I continued to write. Because that was a part of me I could never ignore. With me, music and poetry are twin beauties.
KPG. Tell about one of your favorite poetry experiences.
LDW. I had the great fortune to be the commencement speaker for the 2016 Fall Graduating Class of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The president opened the ceremonies with one of my poems. It was the first time a poem was read during a commencement ceremony on that campus. Also, I wrote a poem specifically for that graduating class. I had a chance to read it during the ceremonies. In addition to the two ceremonies, there was a ceremony exclusively for Spanish speakers. One of my poems was translated and read at the ceremony. This experience was one I did not know how to dream.