Sherry Beasley lives in southwest Virginia. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines across the country, and have won numerous prizes, including the Edgar Allen Poe Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of Virginia. She is currently working on a collection of her poems.
3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?
SB: I think the word “Terminal” caught my attention the most. For some reason I added the next element on the list, which was a number. That took care of two elements right away. The third, “bare,” was harder to work into the poem.
3ER: What do you want to tell readers about your piece?
SB: First, as soon as the title came to me (and that came first, I think), the rest of the poem came pretty quickly. I wrote it in one session, but that is what I almost always do with any poem I write. This was an easy poem relatively speaking, but the word “bare” did give me a little trouble.
3ER: Describe your writing process.
SB: My writing process, is really to have a large block of time, the longer the better, and generally not less than four hours, to concentrate on writing. I need to be totally alone and have found that when I am not alone I am not productive. I am a little edgy because I never know when someone might come into the room where I am trying to write. So-a large block of time and total solitude help me.
If I am experiencing writer’s block, an element or list of elements helps, and also, something visual like a famous painting. I look at a bunch of these online or in a book and at least one will inspire me to write something. Listening to music also helps.
3ER: Do you write in a certain place? Listen to music? What are your rituals?
SB: I write in my writing room, which used to be a nursery, then my son’s bedroom – the elder and then the younger – then a laundry room (which is still is) but I converted most of the room to a place where I keep my desk and books, etc. So it is mostly a writing room.
I resisted composing on the computer for a long time and preferred to write in longhand, but realized only in the last year or two how much easier it is to compose on the computer.
I used to listen to music practically every time I was going to write. Now, I only listen when I need to help writer’s block.
3ER: Who are your favorite writers?
SB: My favorite writers: I don’t have favorite writers as much as I have favorite poems, and of course, I like the poets who wrote them. Those poems are:
Mourning Picture by Adrienne Rich
No Swam So Fine by Marianne Moore
A Carriage From Sweden by Marianne Moore
First Death In Nova Scotia by Elizabeth Bishop
Flock by Billy Collins
3ER: Why do you think writing matters?
SB: Because it connects us to our fellow man.
3ER: What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
SB: Every dream I have is weird.
3ER: Where can we read more of your work?
SB: Several of my poems can be found online at Your Daily Poem.
I also have a website that can be found here.
Here is an excerpt from Sherry’s poem, French Kiss, out now in issue no. 3:
A kiss on an excursion boat sailing down the Seine,
Notre Dame cathedral on one bank, black wrought-iron
railing on the other with an ice-cream vendor selling
cones of vanille au chocolat. Suddenly, a gorgeous man
appears behind me, and turns me around. You know
what happens next. No one told me
I needed to know the man, or that I should bring
him with me.