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Amber Flora Thomas Interview Part-Two 3-2-15

2015 Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition

March 21, 2015 8:30am to 6pm

The Turnage Theatre

150 W. Main Street, Washington, NC 27889

Hello again. In today’s post we have part two of our interview with ECU, Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing, Amber Flora Thomas.

Ms. Thomas will present an afternoon workshop called, “Gathering Pearls: How to Put Together a Book of Poems.” Register early.

Now for our interview:

Amber Flora Thomas - 2015

Amber Flora Thomas
Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing, ECU


Q. Have you ever written anything that you absolutely hated? If so, what did you do with the piece?

   A. I have never written anything I hated, or if I hate it, it immediately goes in the trash. I’ve definitely written poems and essays that I’m embarrassed about because the writing was poorly executed or needed a lot more work. It took me eight years to finish my first book because I didn’t want to regret any of the poems later in life. We evolve and change, and so does our understanding of the past. I appreciate the mistakes in my earlier work because they show my evolution of mind and understanding.

Q. Who are your favorite classic and modern poets?

    A. Here are some of my go-to poets, meaning I go to their poems (the same ones) over and over again (no particular order): T. S. Eliot, Audre Lorde, Yusef Komuyakaa, Frank Bidart, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, D. H. Lawrence, May Swenson, Pablo Neruda, Louise Gluck, Jorie Graham, Carl Phillips, Charles Wright, James Wright, Wislawa Szymborska, and Ann Carson.

Q. Which do you believe have had the greatest influence on you as a writer?

    A. I studied the early and mid-20th century poets in graduate school, so they have the greatest impact on my writing, probably because I have been thinking critically about their lives and writing the longest, so Dickinson, Moore, Bishop, Roethke, Eliot, Lawrence, and Neruda.

Q. What avenues do you use to market your work? (Social media, on-line sales, bookstores, etc.?) Which have you found to work best?

    A. I struggle to market my writing. I am not good a telling people about my accomplishments because it feels like bragging. Of course, this has impacted my success because I’ve noticed that succeeding as a writer is all about self-promotion these days. Most writers have dedicated websites, Facebook pages, blogs, and aren’t afraid to send out notices and reminders (lots and lots of them) about their events, publications, and awards. I am still working on developing a plan for promoting my writing in such a way that it is less distasteful to me. First, I need to set aside time to develop a website and blog. Then perhaps I’ll hire someone for a few hours each month to update these sites and post announcements. Is this the best approach? I still don’t know.

Q. If you were to write a poem of your life, what would the title be?

    A. Gosh, good question. Woman in the Fur Coat: An Autobiography of a Crazy Cat Lady. The Brown Girl’s Burning Truth: An Autobiography of a Writer and Her Secrets. This Time Tomorrow: One Woman’s Story of Unrest as Captured in Her Writing. These are terrible. Next question.

Q. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you? (Maybe a personal quirk, something like that).

    A. I lived in one house during my childhood, for about six months. Other than this brief period of time, I lived in trailers, tents, cars, and under the stars with my hippie parents and four siblings. In fact, we frequently did not have electricity and running water. Yup, I had a wild childhood. Book coming soon.

By Kaylene Wilson

For information on the writing competition or to register for either the pre-conference event on Friday night or the conference on Saturday, visit our website at: www.pamlicowritersconference.org
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About Pamlico Writers Group

This is a publication of the Pamlico Writers Group, created to help promote and advance writers skills along with expanding our groups membership and reach. Our aim on this site is to keep you our readers and participants aware of upcoming events. Topics covered during the year will be news regarding our annual Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition, co-sponsored with Arts of the Pamlico, discussion of and from our conferences, participants and group news. PWG's Steering Committee has finalized details for our 5th Annual Pamlico Writers Conference on March 17 & 18th, 2017 at The Turnage Theatre, 150 W. Main St., Washington, NC. This year's theme is "Words," Image and Story". Our Friday night keynote speaker this year will be Author, Teacher, Speaker, and Director of Lavenson Studios, Zelda Lockhart. For more information on Ms. Lockhart visit her website at: http://www.zeldalockhart.com/. For a complete schedule of Friday night and Saturday events, go to our website at: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/. Be sure to check back often for more details of this and other events we have planned. The companion juried writing competition submissions opened on January 1, 2017. Winners are announced and an awards ceremony will be held during our Friday night Kick-Off Event. If you'd like more information on guidelines for entries, please go to our website: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/ All registrations for both conference and/or entry into the competition will be made through our web site: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/. Again, see site for complete details. Thank you for visiting! We hope to see you again soon. **If you are a writer interested in finding a critique group or other writers, we encourage you to come and join us. If you life at a distance please don't let that diswade you, we have several members who participate predominately on-line. Our meetings are the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 pm here in Washington, NC at the Turnage Theatre. We would love to hear from you regarding comments or ideas you have for the group. This blog is authored by members of our writer's group. Thank you for stopping by. See you soon, Kaylene Wilson Program Coordinator


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