Welcome back to our Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.
Today, we’re chatting with Nicole Homer!
Hey Nicole! What’s new with you?
I spent the summer living and working at Robert Frost’s Franconia, NH home as the Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place. It was an honor and a privilege and my favorite spot in the house was the porch where I could sit and write or edit or sip coffee and see the White Mountains. Also, because I’m me, I found an ice cream shop with delicious homemade ice cream.
What was your experience with poetry in high school? If you wrote poetry as a teenager, who were your influences then and what did you write about?
When I was in high school, I started going to an open mic at the local Barnes and Nobles. I was surrounded by older poets who were kind and generous and indulgent with me. My father died when I was in middle school, so he occupied a large part of my work. Alongside that, I was trying to figure out the world and my place in it so I examined politics and relationships.
What is the role of poetry in today’s world?
To simultaneously bear witness and offer a way through.
What is the funniest/strangest response you’ve ever gotten to telling someone you are a poet?
“How do you eat?”
Have you ever written anything you were afraid to share?
Yes! More and more this is a feeling that lets me know I’m being honest or that, at least, I’m headed in a productive direction.
What is something miscellaneous from your life that you would recommend to other people? It could be a person, a habit, an idea, anything that brings you happiness right now that you would like to recommend.
There are two things I think people should do everyday: exercise and create. To the extent that one’s body is able, I think exercise—movement, really—helps. It impacts the chemicals in the body and therefore emotion. It can change your perspective. Literally. If you walk or jog down the street, you are somewhere different seeing something different. Creation can be a poem, but it doesn’t have to be. A paper airplane. A cake. A scarf. I find that if I put too much on myself to write every day, I can become overwhelmed. Writing isn’t the end all be all, but making something is valuable. Even something as transient as a sandcastle. It’s a practice and a craft and trains you to get into a creative space with increasing ease.
Nicole Homer is a full-time faculty member at Mercer County Community College in NJ, with an MFA from Rutgers-Newark. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Muzzle, The Offing, Winter Tangerine, Rattle, The Collagist and elsewhere. A The Watering Hole graduate fellow and Callaloo fellow, Nicole serves as an Editor and regular contributor at BlackNerdProblems, writing critique of media and pop culture, and as faculty at the Pink Door Writing Retreat for Women and Gender Non-conforming Writers of Color. Her first full-length collection of poems, Pecking Order, published by Write Bloody Press, was a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist. She was chosen to be the 2018 Poet-in-Residence at The Frost Place. She can be found online at nicolehomer.com or @realnicolehomer on Twitter and other things.