Interview with Poet, Sonja Mabel McClure

When you receive a DM asking for your home address from someone who has grown to become a dear friend – you don’t ask why you just provide your details.   And that’s exactly what I did, when the beautiful Sonja Mabel McClure requested mine.  I had no idea what she was sending… when I received Sonja’s package, I nearly cried!! Sonja had filled it with such love and passion – all her original body of work.  It was such a lovely and thoughtful gift.  To present someone something so personal and profound left me feeling all mushy inside.  Sonja’s book Shift/Motion is a chap for the senses images dance in my mind when I take it out to read it — there is distinct motion with her selection of imagery and phrase.  Sonja is truly an emotive writer who expresses her raw emotion through her methodological content.  I’d like to invite you all to follow Sonja on Instagram at @sonjasolstice.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
SMM: I read, watch or listen to something inspiring to put me in the writing mood/mindset. Then I prefer complete silence and often solitude, to help me focus. I mentally immerse myself entirely in whatever topic I’m currently writing about.
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked and if so how did you overcome it?
SMM: Yes. I take a break when I get stumped or stuck in a rut. I’ll put aside what I’m writing and come back to it again later and start working on another project. I try to be patient with myself and not let it frustrate me. I frequently attempt to free write and brainstorm to generate new thoughts.
RMMW: What challenges do you feel modern day poets face in their daily lives?
SMM: A society with short attention spans. Lack of motivation/interest on the reader’s behalf. The decline of bookstores. Poet’s face a lot of competition when they’re trying to get published which can result in many rejections. Poetry is a small genre and doesn’t get as much exposure or have as big of a following when compared to other forms of literature and entertainment.
RMMW: Can you tell me what themes from Shift/Motion you\’d like for people to take with them after they read it?
SMM: Movement, wanderlust, love, sorrow, resilience, and a sense of adventure to name a few. I hope the reader takes away with them whatever themes that strike a chord!
RMMW: How has your writing evolved over the years?
SMM: That’s a difficult question. It’s tough to measure. They say practice makes perfect haha so, hopefully I’m evolving and improving every time I write…
RMMW: When did you start writing and what attracted you to poetry?
SMM: I was a teenager when I started journal writing. I didn’t have a big interest in writing anything else until high school. My honors English teacher had a huge influence on me.  It was in her class that I wrote my first decent short story and not long after, I came up with my first poem.
Early on, most of the exposure I had to reading poetry was filled with romantic writings. Later I realized that love poems were just one theme among many found within poetry. Overall, I’m attracted to the imagery, the imagination, that poetry exudes. The creative expression of a poem.
RMMW: What area do you struggle with as a writer?
SMM: A few come to mind. Translating ideas from my head to the paper. Self-doubt. Choosing poem titles. Doing justice to my subjects/muses.
RMMW: What motivates you to write?
SMM: Coffee. (laughs) Nature, music, reading, travel, films, news, conversations, relationships, people watching and current affairs.
RMMW: Do you think poetry has a purpose? Is there something in particular that good poetry should do?
SMM: Absolutely. All artistic outlets have purpose. Mainly, to engage the audience.
A well-written poem incorporates a certain cadence and assonance that makes the vocabulary flow smoothly and seamlessly together. The structure should be visually appealing. Poetry should create vivid descriptive imagery and demonstrate a use of strong metaphors.
RMMW: What\’s the best experience you\’ve gained through writing?
SMM: Interacting with other writers. Also, to perceive how we all write from our own individual perspectives. To see the world through other people’s eyes. During my journalism college courses, I learned each person can interpret the same exact event completely different.
RMMW: I know it\’s unrelated to poetry, but dancing is pure poetry in motion — what do you love most about dancing? 
SMM: The connection of body movement and music. The body is an extension to the music, acting as another instrument so to speak. I love how as a dancer you can choose what instrument’s rhythm pattern you want to match tempo with. The drums tend to carry the dominant beat, but I find the melody intriguing to follow as well. Freestyle dance is the most exhilarating and liberating aspect of dance for me. No preset choreography, just letting go and dancing improv. 
RMMW: Which poets most inspire you? 
SMM: You, of course! Walt Whitman’s passionate writing and Saul William’s epic spoken word continuously inspire me. Many contemporary independent poets get my creative juices flowing. Currently, I’m captivated with familiarizing myself with the Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists. A stellar list of writers going on there. I’m also motivated by broadening my book collection of two of my favorite poets, Adrienne Rich and Mary Oliver. It would be amazing to own all of their work one day.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
SMM: Greek mythology fascinates me. I’d have to pick the compelling power of the Muses, particularly the abilities of Terpsichore, Erato or Calliope.

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