Welcome to my poetry page – I hope you enjoy it. Please comment and share!
Poet Jody Costa is from the Baltimore, MD area. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s College of MD. In her “other life”, she works in marketing. Follow on Twitter @costa_jl
Accolades and awards:
• Third Place, City Paper Fiction Contest (2012)
• Winner, “Japanese Short Form” Contest on EveryDayPoets (2012)
• Finalist in the Bethesda Poetry Competition (2012)
• Winner, “How to Handle Explosives” Contest on EveryDayPoets (2011)
• 7-time published poet on EveryDayPoets (2011-2012)
• Feature on “Better Living Through Beowulf” (2011)
• Feature on United Nations Counsel on Aging – International Day of Older Persons (2006)
• Feature on MarketingProfs.com “Books: The New Premium” (2006)
Author Interview – as seen on EveryDayPoets
Tell us how long you have been writing poetry and how did that all start?
I’ve been writing poetry literally since I could write letters – although that doesn’t mean it was very good! I remember with my first taste of real “poetry pride” was from an over-the-top John Lennon “Imagine” themed piece when I was about 9. The weird thing is that, even though I’ve always written poetry, I never actually thought of myself as a poet until now. It was like a compulsion more than anything else. I just had to write. I blame my great-grandmother, Alice B. Johnson, who was a published poet in the 50s/60s. I think she has always been in the background pushing me.
What have been the major influences on your poetry and why?
My great-grandmother’s work, which drew inspiration from her family and life. Michael Glaser and Lucille Clifton’s work at St. Mary’s College of Maryland – and Glaser’s creative writing class that really kick-started the journaling/creative writing process. And every other poet/writer I could stumble across in my studies, like Carl Sandberg, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Alan Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, etc., on the poetry front, and Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Taylor Caldwell, Malcom Gladwell, John Steinbeck, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, etc., on the prose front.
Please talk a bit about your creative process. What inspires you to write a poem and how do you shape your writing?
Ah, this is something that most writers won’t want to hear – my creative process is absurdly fast. It’s literally like an outburst. That spark hits and bam, I just start going. A few edits here and there and I’m spent. I really have to force myself to go back and revise/tighten/edit.
I’m inspired by life experiences, words, writers, dreams, observations, music – anything and everything. For me, poetry can be a photograph – I see something or an idea hits and ”snap” – I want to capture all the details as fast as I can.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
I guess I don’t really think too much about it because it’s inherent in who I am. The only difference now is my self-imposed publishing schedule for my blog (Monday – Friday), which does take discipline and late nights on the computer!
What role do you think poetry and poets play in today’s world?
I think poetry is more important than ever because it engages the reader to be part of an active, creative, thinking process. Poetry forces you to examine and delve below the surface of things. Information – just raw facts – are so prevalent and accessible that it is easy to become almost complacent towards “reading”; but, poems, the really good ones, make you emotional, confused, excited, and maybe even a little drained.
Where have you been published and what are your plans for future work?
As previously mentioned, I’m a relatively new poet – Every Day Poets and The Mulberry Tree (magazine for St. Mary’s College) are the two major places. I have had sporadic writing here and there outside of poetry but, mostly, I’ve never really submitted my work until now. Thankfully, Every Day Poets has been receptive, and it is inspiring me to do more.
Finally, what is the best bit of writing advice you could share with an aspiring poet?
Show don’t tell – my best advice is to look at every word in your poem. Is it working towards your final goal? Is it tangible? Is it concrete? Is it painting a picture or is it “telling”? Glaser’s writing class (and Jeff Hammond’s creative non-fiction class) pushed me to this. Pick those words that people can grab onto with two hands.