This week, on the podcast, poet Dominique Traverse Locke joins me for an interview in which we discuss the benefits of reading (and even writing) poetry for those of us who do not consider ourselves poets.

Enjoy! (A treasure trove of poetry-related links below!!! Be sure to check them out!)

00:43 Welcome! Unplanned week off for Thanksgiving. Hope your week was good.

02:11 Poetry as another way to feed creativity for our main creative focus.

03:50 Mention of two recent blog posts that are on the same topic. (See links below.)

04:40 Bio of Dominique Traverse Locke

06:33 Three quick notes: an odd sound, a clarification, and a correction.

07:51 Start of the interview, a reading from The Goodbye Child, the poem Stories I Tell.

10:10 Who are you, Dominique? A bit about her writing life, including her migration from fiction to poetry.

13:50 Initial thoughts on poetry for non-poets, and “What IS poetry?” (Includes a long-winded section by yours truly…and my negative attitude about poetry.)

18:50 What IS poetry? (In which Dominique finally gets to speak again!!)

21:35 Shout out to Kathy Smith Bowers, how to present poetry and teach it in a way that isn’t deadly to the reader’s interest. Abiding images, moments of intensity, “triggering towns”.

24:00 The poem starts as a large chunk of stone and you chip away at it until it is the size of gravel: that’s a poem.

24:43 Benefits of the non-poet creative reading and studying poetry.

25:54 Ways non-poets can dabble with poetry and incorporate a poetic mindset.

28:15 Reading out loud, for poetry and when revising prose.

29:30 Cross-genre writing pushes you from your comfort zone, and it helps you see your work differently. It exercises different literary muscles.

32:37 Flash fiction, prose poems, and found poetry.

36:14 The importance of good critique and honest response of other readers. Important things are tough to do, but they are the core of valuable creativity. (Shout out to Pinkney Benedict and his very scary writing exercise.)

40:45 Some of Dominique’s favorite poets. (Listed below.)

43:10 Power of critique, and benefits of a strong workshop group.

45:30 Thank yous and some ways to find out more about Dominique, what’s coming up for her. (See below.)

49:55 End of interview, thanks for listening, please leave a review or star rating if you can, it is a big help, and share this podcast with others.


Dominique shares this method of reading poetry for greater impact (at the 26:35 mark):

Read the poem more than once. Read it out loud. Keep a written record and answer these three questions:

  1. In one sentence, what is this poem about? What is the speaker telling me?
  2. Write down your likes.
  3. Write down your dislikes.

WordsMatterESW related blog posts

Dominique Traverse Locke links

Other Poets and Writers Dominique mentions or recommends:

Some of my  very own favorite poets:

Two books on writing poetry I found helpful:


As always, here are the links to my website, blog, etc:

More Stories Podcast Links:

Other Eric Sheridan Wyatt links:

Podcast Episode 14: Poetry for Non-Poets