Welcome to our newest blog series: Where Are They Now?
In this series, our editors interview past Literary Mama contributors to see what they’ve accomplished since publishing in LM and talk about their writing journeys.
This week, Senior Editor Christina Consolino chatted with Trish Hopkinson, who has published both poetry and a review for Literary Mama. You can learn more about Trish and read her work here.
Christina Consolino: You wrote a review of The Body’s Alphabet for Literary Mama in 2016 and a lovely poem (“Dragonfly Daughter”) in 2020. You’ve also published several chapbooks over the last few years. What about poetry and writing poems do you find so compelling?
Trish Hopkinson: Poetry has been a part of life for as long as I can remember. It’s an artform I need to feel complete and content with other aspects of my life. Poetry, like other artforms, is a powerful medium of self-expression—a way to exist without feeling alone in our experiences, challenges, and celebrations.
CC: Every writer has a different writing process. With respect to poetry, what is yours?
TH: Sometimes I’m inspired by a topic, metaphor, or something I’ve witnessed. When those gifts occur in my everyday life, I’ll often mull them over until I have time to write them down or craft a first draft. Other times, I just need to write, even if it’s from a prompt or a workshop. I don’t have a specific routine or time that I schedule for my writing practice. If I feel the urge or a longing to write, I make the time.
CC: You’re an award-winning poet. When you finish writing a poem, can you tell if it’s worthy of an award? Have some of the poems that have won surprised you?
TH: I know a poem is important when I’m exhausted after writing it. And often, that importance may be personal, or it may be meaningful in broader ways. Yes! I’m often surprised by the poems that are selected for publication or for a prize. It’s not been unusual for me to throw a random poem into a submission as a sort of wildcard, to have that specific poem selected. That has happened numerous times.
CC: The tagline for your website reads, “The Selfish Poet,” but anyone who knows anything about Trish Hopkinson understands the opposite to be true: since October 2014, your website has provided “posting poetry related information” and resources for all levels of writers. What made you decide to provide that sort of content? What do you like most about compiling the information?
TH: Originally, I started posting resources and calls on my website as a way to keep track of them for myself. I started sharing some of those resources on social media and over time, my website grew and I met so many amazing editors and poets. It’s been so much more than I ever imagined and rewarding on so many levels. I think what I like most is meeting incredibly talented people and promoting poetry in general. Ultimately, I write for my own well-being and truly enjoy being part of the poetry community—hence, selfish poet.
CC: With all the support you give to other writers, how can they help you? And what are some ways that we, as readers and writers, can help one another?
TH: Get loud about poetry—talk about poetry with your non-poet friends, make it part of your persona. Most people don’t even know how often they read poetry or how many ways there are to experience it. Be advocates for others, promote the authors you love, request their books at your library, buy their books when you can, write reviews, give back! There’s always a little something we can do to support each other.
CC: What are you working on next?
TH: I’ve been focused on sending out my full-length manuscript entitled A Godless Ascends. I’ve been sending it out for well over a year now, but I aimed high and have been happy to be a finalist in a few competitions. No takers yet, but I’m not giving up until I find the press that is the perfect fit. Other than that, I’ve been focusing on writing poetry-related guest blog posts and articles for other sites to expand my audience, enjoying curating poetry related content for KRCL 90.9 FM’s community affairs program, doing Zoom interviews for Tell Tell Poetry’s submission series, running my regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets and the Poetry Palooza programming for the International Women’s Writing Guild, and of course, writing and revising when the craft calls to me. It sounds like a lot alongside a pretty demanding day job, but I’ve learned to be efficient and focus on the projects that reach the most people, make a difference in the poetry community, and bring me joy.