First we want to thank Caroline Dewey for keeping ISFPC moving forward as interim president for several months. She continues to serve as 1st Vice President and our excellent Contest Director. Thanks, Caroline!
Let's get to know Sandra!
What's your hometown?
Hammond, Indiana . . . born there and lived the first 18 years of my life on Elm Street. How Midwest is that? It was a great location to grow up. We were close to Chicago, the Dunes of Lake Michigan and farmlands of Indiana.
I continued to live in Hammond until I was 32, and then moved to Lowell where I raised my three children amongst cornfields, an 1800’s historic living history farm, Voyager Rendezvous’ events, and an occasional runaway pregnant goat hiding on our property.
Previous positions in ISFPC?
I believe it was about 2010 when Glenna Glee asked me to take the historian position for ISFPC for her. The position wasn’t (and still isn’t) defined. It is just a person to store boxes of past collected and saved documents and a few items.
I was the ISFPC Convention Treasurer for the national Federation of State Poetry Societies 2012 National Convention when ISFPC hosted it.
ISFPC Treasurer 2013-2015.
How long have you been writing poetry? Do you remember what first turned you on to poetry?
As with many, I started writing around 4th grade as it was part of English class in elementary school. It was simple intro poetry forms such as acrostic and diamond (diamante). We had to create a booklet of our work and I worked hard on my few poems, printing with care each poem. I used red construction paper for the front and back cover and a marker to put the title and my name on the cover. I used a hole punch to make the holes to thread yarn for my bookbinding. I was so proud when the teacher selected my poetry book to be displayed on the classroom corkboard for the schools open house!
I enjoy the challenges of Haiku, triolet, villanelles and one day I hope to please Carrie Quick with a Lil’ Ann that will receive at least an honorable mention!
I prefer short poem forms as well as humorous subjects.
To rhyme or not to rhyme? (which do you do?)
I am drawn to rhyme. Most likely because I am a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. (grin)
Emily Dickinson. She always fascinated me. Her poetry and her (mysterious) life.
This will surprise many since I like rhyme, but I am a fan of e.e. cummings. My favorite collection/book of his is ’95 Poems’
Langston Hughes. I really enjoy his dialect in his writing. My most favorite of his work is Mother to Son.
Shel Silverstein. I don’t think there is any of his work I dislike.
Minton Sparks. She is a performance poet. I suggest everyone to Google her and listen to an audio or video clips.
Matsuo Basho: From time to time, The clouds give rest, To the moon beholders . . .
Poe . . . Though not one of his poems, I have to share this; when I was younger I caught a reading of Poe’s Tell Tale Heart on the radio. Scared the bejeezus outa me!
Describe your writing environment
I use a tiny, spare bedroom in our new location. Currently not set-up with all my cozy writing bric-a-brac. I often use the kitchen table with a laptop or notepad.
I like to look out a window or patio door, sometime have music playing (Beethoven, piano classical, Indian flute) or just silence.
I don’t have a particular time of day for writing. I have to use the moments I can. I have discovered it is impossible to write on my break at work. Too many sport fans watching ESPN and too many curious others interrupting to ask what am I writing.
I usually have a huge mug of tea. I have many blends from herbal to caffeinated, flowery and spicy.
What do you find most challenging about writing poetry?
Having quiet, alone, uninterrupted time.
Your day job?
I work in the Business Office for CarMax in Merrillville. Very uninspiring, retail hours so mostly evenings and Saturday’s and often stressful. But, what job really isn’t all that? We do have moments of laughter and silliness.
I am a photographer. One type of photography I do is ‘urbex’. I go into abandoned buildings and photograph the beauty that once was and of nature taking back. There is so much art and poetry in the ruins.
I make wine. I can jellies, spaghetti sauce, pickles. I enjoy baking creative foods such as chocolate lavender cupcakes, rosemary apple quick bread and potato chip cookies. I make my own spice blends. Basically, I like to create.
We have a cockatiel, Simon. He is around 24 years old and has a lot of personality.
We recently acquired a rescue cat. She is about a year old, jet black with white paws, chin and neck. Sasha is the name she came with but is often called ‘Stinker’, ‘Damn Cat’ or ‘Brat’. She is quite the handful, but so very cuddly and loving . . . until she strikes.
My husband, Matt is very supportive of my involvement with poetry, writing and photography. He is the Information Technology (I.T.) guy for Sterling Lumber in Phoenix Illinois and also the head coach for Valparaiso (Indiana) University’s Woman’s Bowling team.
I have three children. Vincent works for Clean Harbors as an environmental (cleanup) technician. Adam is the IT & Facility Manager at Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, IN. Jenny is a waitress at Bar Louie in Merrillville, IN and is excited as today (Dec 5th) they are celebrating the repeal of prohibition and they are doing a Gatsby theme. One of her favorite books!
I have two stepchildren. Sydney works with troubled youth at Westville Indiana Correctional Facility and Trevor is a student at Ball State working on his masters.
Future goals for ISFPC?
Going through past newsletters and minutes, I can see that ISFPC once had a large and diverse membership, contests and meetings. ISFPC was very involved with communities and schools/universities and poetry clubs. Somehow over the years activity and involvement has diminished. Instead of continuing growth, ISFPC had tumble down the hill of development and maintaining a strong alliance of poets in the State of Indiana.
The operations of ISFPC are antiquated and vague. We need to regroup, reorganize and bring ISFPC up to par with what the founding board started, as well as bring some of the practices into the 21st Century.
I hope to get ISFPC back on track with increased membership, involvement, incentives and revamping of the bylaws beyond adding spotty updates.
2016 is ISFPC’s 75th year anniversary. We need to celebrate this milestone and keep ‘Poetry Alive.’