A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Highlights Workshop. It was wonderful. The author-leaders, Alma Fullerton and Kathy Erskine, were (and still are) fun and encouraging and super good writers. I got a jolt of energy and encouragement that has sustained me since.
I also met Barbara Krasner, an author, poet, teacher, student and world traveler. I really learned a lot about her writing process and what brings her to her writing projects.
Fast forward to today. I'm holding Barbara's chap book, Pounding Cobblestones, in my hands and really enjoying it.
I'm also reading her chap book with an ulterior motive. I think I just might have enough material to attempt a chap book and am seeking mentor texts.
I had a chance to ask Barbara a little bit about Pounding Cobblestones. Here's what I learned:
Linda: Cobblestones show up in almost every poem. What do they represent for you now that Pounding Cobblestones is finished and out in the world?
Barbara: On my first day in Prague, I was struck by the beauty of the wet cobblestone (cover photo). I could hear rumblings along the cobblestone near Charles University and that immediately brought me back in time to an earlier age. At Terezin, a hole in the asphalt revealed cobblestone.
Linda: Tell us about revision...
Barbara: I wanted to create a poetic narrative of my month in the Czech Republic and how it affected me. There were certainly poems cut from the collection and new ones that had to be added to flesh out the narrative frame. I revise poems based on feedback from a mentor and my own judgment about words/lines not working.
Linda: Do you creatively cross-train? What other creative activities do you engage in to keep your poetry sharp and fresh?
Barbara: I write fiction, nonfiction and poetry for adults and young readers. I think writing poetry informs my work particularly in nonfiction, for instance, to find the right simile or metaphor, the right imagery for an emotional response.
Linda: What's next for you? Where else can I find your work?
Barbara: I have a number of projects in the queue with my agent. I hope to write a new children's picture book in sonnets over my winter break and to revise a middle-grade biography over the summer. You can find my work at Typehouse, a Jewish Literary Journal, Gravel and elsewhere. Many of my works are listed on my website at barbarakrasner.com