1.When did you first start writing?
In the womb
2. What inspired you to write your first story/book/poem?
I was far from home in the army and I was in love. I wrote a poem reflecting all that
3. How do you come up with your titles?
After I finish the poem I argue with myself for days over the title.
4. Are experiences you write about based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Always, even the most abstract ideas arise from my own life. When I write of others it, too, comes from my life. It can't be helped.
5. What books/authors have most influenced your life?
Tom Paine. "The Age Of Reason," opened my mind to free thinking. Introduced me to the great minds of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
6. What book are you reading now?
”Whatever It Is, I Don't Like It," by Howard Jacobson. Wonderful, sly British observations.
7. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
One particular workshop I attended for years. It was filled with smart people who helped me. Others weren't as helpful.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Dickens. Of all writers he combined elegance and deep moral understanding with humor. Humor underlies all of my writing, even when I am in dead earnest, it seems.
9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
The only advice I ever give writers, especially poets is: inspect your words closely to make sure they are true. Dare to put your heart and your guts on the page. It is a terribly hard thing to do. But if not true, it is worthless.
10. Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
At eighty, I am surely the oldest poet in the room.