Dr. Heather Thomas, Part 2

Part 2 of our interview with Dr. Heather Thomas:
Click here for Part 1]

6.      Was it hard to get your poetry published? Where do you submit your poems to for publication? Does anybody read your poems before they get published?

My first publication was, ironically, in the KU journal Yarrow, which was edited for years by Harry Humes, my predecessor in the English Department.  I was a newspaper reporter and met Harry when I interviewed him for a story.  My next publication was in HOW(ever), now called how2, an innovative lit mag of modern and contemporary women’s writing.  By that time I had left the newspaper for grad school at Temple and was a single mother.  Like most writers, I have experienced plenty of rejection.  I submit poems to lit mags, I’ve researched to see if it looks like there may be a fit, or to editors who ask for them.  I workshop my poems with a group of friends who are also poets.

7.      Do you notice anything about your writing style? (Example: do you use a lot of rhyme?)

I notice whether I’ve chosen the precise word and cut the wordy phrases.  I notice how a poem looks on the page and how it sounds.  I love the textures and tones of sound, but I don’t use end rhyme.  It’s just not my thing.  I’ve been told that my poems have a visual quality, and I attribute this to the fact that I myself have poor vision.

8.      Does your family read your poetry? When you first started to write poetry, did your family encourage you? If not, why?

I wrote for some time before sharing my poems with anyone.  My grandmother and stepfather were long dead before I had the publications that allowed me to call myself a poet.  My mother considered poetry a futile pursuit because it did not earn any money.  She used to send me classified ads for romance writers from The New York Times.  She still asks how much I’m getting paid for a poem or a reading.  My aunts and uncles have encouraged me in my work.  Sadly I’ve written elegies recently for two of my aunts who died.

9.      Did anybody inspire you to become a writer/poet? What made you want to become a teacher and teach writing and poetry?

Besides my voracious reading, I was inspired by an undeniable need to write.  As a journalist, I learned about other people, my city, its systems, history, and biases.  I learned how to write on deadline and to dictate a story from my notes while standing in a phone booth.  Eventually I learned about myself.  The great German poet Rilke says poets need to ask themselves in the dead of night if they must write to live.  If so, he says, you must revise your life.  I did that in becoming a teacher.  Rachel Blau DuPlessis, my grad-school mentor, was my role model of the poet-scholar-professor.  Other teachers over the years made a difference in my life.  Mr. Milford, my high-school English teacher, instilled in me the rigor necessary for turning out weekly essays on Friday afternoons.  Susan Sontag, who taught a graduate class at Temple, allowed that writing and literature are an obsession with love.  She didn’t mean romantic love.  I got that.  More than anything, it is my students who make me want to teach.  I teach for them.

10.      If somebody does not understand how to read or understand poetry, but wanted to, what advice would you give that person?

Read with your heart.  Read the poem aloud.  Read it a few times.  The meaning of a poem will unfold, based on what you bring to your reading.

11.      Do you have a website that people can visit to learn more about you and your poetry?

Dr. Heather Thomas, http:faculty.kutztown.edu/hthomas

This concludes a question and answer with Dr. Heather Thomas. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you again to Dr. Thomas for letting me do this interview and conduct questions for National Poetry Month. This was a great experience to get to know a poet here at Kutztown University. As the year comes to an end I hope you will enjoy your retirement.

Upcoming opportunity to go see Dr. Heather Thomas:

Saturday, April 20 “Broken Open, Breaking Free,” Ice House, Bethlehem, 7:30, with Craig Czury, Lisa DuVuono, John Fox, Susan Kerschner, and Michael London’s Rumi songs.


10 Responses to “Dr. Heather Thomas, Part 2”

  1. 1 King April 27, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Hi! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

  2. 3 Christina April 27, 2013 at 2:09 am

    What’s up colleagues, nice post and nice urging commented at this place, I am truly enjoying by these.

  3. 5 allen993 June 6, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Wow? Heather Thomas is A Great Actress And I Definitely Like Her But Not As A Fan or Anything I Just Like Her Picture In The Wikipedia And So, The L
    ady is HOT HOT HOT!

    PS The Actress Heather Thomas is My Type of A Lady A Man Really Wants
    And She’s Fit For A Friend Who Admires Her Great Films And Televisio
    ns! Thanks, Dude! 06/6/2013 Time 7:56pm.

  4. 6 Casimira August 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    hey there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise some technical points using this
    site, as I experienced to reload the website many times previous to I
    could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering
    if your web hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon.

  5. 7 Tucson Help Wanted October 1, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Never trivialize details and responsibilities of previous
    positions. Taking on a flippant tone to describe interactions with customers, clients
    and coworkers reflects poorly on you. Hiring managers
    look for candidates who take obvious pride in their performance and
    the satisfaction of others. Even if your performance in one area was not to your standard, you might still
    mention it and discuss how you used it as a learning experience.

  6. 8 Jeana November 28, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Jobs was swimming with the tide during the flower child era off the
    70’s. This article lists down the top 10 places that you
    might enjoy when you travel to Germany. Isolated from the
    rest of the country, Kullu came into limelight under
    the British rule.

  7. 9 blog251551 May 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Quality articles is the main to attract the viewers to pay a quick visit the site, that’s
    what this web site is providing.

  1. 1 Dr. Heather Thomas, Poet | The More You Know... Trackback on April 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,751 other followers

The Elusive Sea Cow Tweets

Rohrbach Library Tweets



Blog Stats

  • 2,954,970 hits


Kutztown University is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

%d bloggers like this: