Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Loretta Diane Walker

Today’s brief Q&A is with Loretta Diane Walker, a poetical contributor to the inaugural issue of Sugared Water.

Loretta Diane Walker is a multiple Pushcart nominee and an award winning poet. She has published two collections of poetry. Walker’s work has appeared in a number of publications. Her manuscript Word Ghetto won the 2011 Bluelight Press Book Award (1st World Publishing Press, 2011).  She teaches music at Reagan Magnet School in Odessa, Texas.  Loretta received a BME from Texas Tech University and earned a MA from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

a little taste of “Lifting Mama,” her poem in SW#001:

I wake with Mama singing; I love the morning.
Love. A word tossed around so much
it has dark circles around its eyes.
I love my socks, fingernails, the way ants follow a soul
from Carver Street to French Place.
Love is a little purple gnome
sitting on the dashboard of an old Chevrolet pick- up.
The seasons’ erratic nails scratch years
of flakey rusted dandruff on its hood.

I am fully awake now. I get to change my mind
and this resentment I have towards the sun.
Love is my sister’s arms around mother’s back.
With an ulcer eating her stomach, she says to Mom,
“Put your arms around my neck, Mama. On the count of
three.”

SW: What are you currently reading?
LDW: I am currently reading a novel entitled Yoga of the Impossible by my mentor, Diane Frank.  I am also reading  a book of poetry entitled The Wine-Dark House by Rustin Larson.

SW: What are you working on now?
LDW: I am working on a collection entitled In This House.  This collection encompasses poems about the journey my family embarked upon two years ago with my mother becoming a bi-lateral amputee and also poems about my journey towards recovery.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 25, 2013.  These poems depict my struggles and resolutions with having cancer, enduring chemotherapy and radiation.  I just completed treatment in May of 2014.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
LDW: Since my diagnosis in July, I have been inspired greatly by the Texas 2010 Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton. Her book Redefining Beauty is about her journey with breast cancer. I have also revisited the works of Naomi Shiab Nye, Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield, Mary Karr, and Diane Frank.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
LDW: I seek inspiration from snippets of life. I am inspired by grocery baskets scattered in Walmart’s parking lot, a bird with a broken wing kicking against cement, children laughing on the playground, people waiting at a bus stop. I truly believe life is a poem waiting to be written.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
LDW: I have a “ten/one” rule. This means I read at least ten poems (from an anthology or by one poet) before I start writing. Usually a word or a phrase will jump start my creative juices.  I like to write while I am in a restaurant .  The background chatter keeps me centered.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
LDW: I am obsessed with Words with Friends, Zumba, Free Cell and the television show The Property Brothers.

Loretta Diane Walker | SW#001

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