And Now a Poetic Interview with Susie Clevenger!

Susie Clevenger is amazing. There is no other way to put it. She reads and writes with such passion, and is also one of my favorite photographers. In fact, her picture of my book is the header for this blog. Her influence is essential, and I can’t imagine where the world would be without her. But, I’ll let her take it from here…

Me dark2 (1)
Susie Clevenger is an author, poet, and amateur photographer. She was first published at the age of fifteen in Missouri Youth Write. She is author of the poetry collections, Dirt Road Dreams and Insomnia’s Ink. Her work has been featured in the online publications, The Creative Nexus, Poetry & Prose Magazine, The Brinks Gallery, The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project, and Journey of the Heart. She is a member of the Academy of American Poets, The Poetry Society of Texas and coordinator for the Blog Talk Radio program the Creative Nexus Café™. Susie resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, Charlie.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I am a 64 year old poet/author who calls Houston, Texas home. I have been married to my husband Charlie for 45 years and have two daughters. I love blues music, dancing and finding the humor in life. Oh, and I have ADD. I am a blond with a legitimate reason to be referred to as scatterbrained.

When did you start writing poetry?

I started writing poetry my freshman year in high school. After high school I stopped writing it. Why? I don’t know. It was a car accident in 2006 that reanimated the poet in me. A severe concussion + brain damage = poetry.

Do you have a favorite poet/poem?

There are so many wonderful poets, but Edgar Allan Poe was the first poet I was introduced to in my Freshman English class. I had a lot of dark secrets in me and his work helped me to voice it. I like to call him my godfather of verse.

Does music inspire you? What kind?

Goodness, I am not sure where to start with music. I’ve already mentioned blues music, but I love all kinds of music. One moment I might be listening to my friend Mike Zito, the next classical. I actually have Bach playing in the background as I’m writing this. I think because I can’t play an instrument other than my iPod I am urged by listening to music to fill that void with poetry.

Do you write on the computer or in a notebook?

I actually write on both. I have journals all over the house, in my car, in my purse to store thoughts before I lose them. I tweak most of my work on the computer. One reason is if I get stuck in the creative process I can search the web for quotes, photos, music, etc. to break down the wall of writer’s block. I literally have the world at my fingertips.

If you could write a poem anywhere, where would it be?

It would be where I do most of my writing, my library. I am surrounded by my photography, a messy desk and books. It is a little piece of the world that is totally me.

Originally found on my post Writing Spaces.

What do you enjoy most about writing poetry?

It is the freedom to say whatever I want without censor. It doesn’t mean I share all of it with the world. Writing poetry is therapeutic for me. I can “write out” whatever is troubling me. It is the joy of participating in art. I can paint with words what I lack in talent to paint with a brush.
If you could hang out with any poet, who would it be?

I don’t know. I really haven’t even thought about it, perhaps Emily Dickinson. I am a fan of her work and love her punctuation style. I find myself at times following a similar style. It gives a feeling of blank space that teases or encourages the reader to fill in the lines.

If you could physically fight a fellow poet, from any point in time, who would they be?

I don’t want a physical fight unless it is a pillow fight. Charles Bukowski would be interesting
to pillow spar with. I imagine he would carry quite a wallop though.

Have you read or performed poetry live at slams or open mic?

I haven’t really done either of those. My public poetry readings have been in a poetry group and sadly at the funerals of my parents and in-laws. Maybe I should try a slam or open mic.

Why does nothing rhyme with orange?

It is a bright colored loner. I suppose it has dared the world to find a rhyming word, but the English language hasn’t taken the bait to spin a new word into its vocabulary

Do you post your poetry online?

Yes I do. Why not? The internet is google exploration. My poetry may be the very words
someone needs. At least that is my hope.

Do you put your writing into pictures to share on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?

Yes. I often search images for inspiration. I am not very talented in Photoshop, but I like trying
my hand at creating an image to fit my words.

What is the most difficult poetry to write? Are there any forms you dislike?

There are so many poetry forms I find I have no competence with. One of the hardest things for me to do is rhyme. It is always a struggle. I feel the poem reads like someone tried all they could to find words that rhyme. I do have small success when the poem is geared for a child or has a nursery rhyme hint to it.
Do you believe anyone can learn to write poetry? Do you think anyone can enjoy reading it?

No I don’t. I think a passion for the art form is what is required to sustain any effort. Well, I suppose anyone can write a poem, but not all who write them are poets, if that makes any sense. Not everyone will enjoy reading poetry. There are preconceived notions about poetry that turn people away from it. I know I see the letdown in people’s faces when I tell them I am an author. Then there is the question as to what I write followed by the deflated “oh.”

Where do vanishing objects go? Remember to phrase your answer in the form of a riddle.

Seen becomes unseen when toes stand on end to chase what lies on the other side of the fence.

What project(s) are you currently working on, poetry or otherwise?

I am tossing around ideas for my 10 minute spot on the Creative Nexus Café’s blogtalk radio show coming up on October 25th.

Would you like to share a poem with us today?

Sylvia and Wings

“Is there no way out of the mind?” ― Sylvia Plath

I cup the quiet in my palm;
feed it imperfect thoughts,
and wait for dreams
to grow from incapable.

Where is the good witch,
red sequined shoes,
a thrice repeated wish
to take me out of my mind?

Tomorrow is the butterfly I chase.

©Susie Clevenger 2015


Find more about Susie Clevenger:

IndieVengeance Day 2015

Last week I traveled to Dallas for an annual book signing known as IndieVengeance Day. We get together, the indies and I, once a year and hang out. We also sell books: small books, big books, books that climb on rocks. Okay, none of them climbed rocks, but a couple have ghosts, and that’s just as good.


The journey started in the air…

Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

But quickly involved books and stress cubes.

Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

Hey, poetry!

Photograph by Jacqueline Smith
Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

The books and their Davros. Muahaha.


Scott’s fortune cookie predicted a photo bomb.


And there was this yummy croissant.

Photograph by Claudette Peercy

The Justice League prepared to fight evil… and sell books.

Photograph by Claudette Peercy

After Red Lobster. Don’t we look full?


I found this steer at the airport.


My last view of Dallas.


It was an incredible event filled with my favorite people on earth. Once more, my deepest thanks to Amber Norrgard for all the hard work she did setting everything up.

You can find information on the authors in attendance here:

Julie Frayn

James Peercy:

Amber Jerome-Norrgard:

Stacey Roberts:

Paula Walker Baker:

Jacqueline E. Smith:

Debbie Watts Reece:

Susie Clevenger:

Prison Pact

I published two short plays last year involving wannabe outlaws Vince and Thrash. They usually try to break the law and become infamous in the process.  It never quite works out and last time we saw them they were arrested for domestic disturbance. This is the next chapter in their saga: Prison Pact.

Read the first two: Suicide Pact, Murder Pact





County jail cell with a bed and toilet.

Image Source: Flickr

(VINCE sits on the toilet holding a Pogo stick.)

VINCE: We’ve done it now, Thrash. It’s the Green Mile for us.

POLICEMAN: You’re not in prison. It’s a jail cell.

VINCE: Won’t be long now.

THRASH: Do you think we get a last meal?

VINCE: Hopefully, it’s something sweet like the outside air.

THRASH: The sweet air of freedom. Heavenly, ain’t it boss?

POLICEMAN: You’ve been in here less than an hour for domestic disturbance.

VINCE: But it feels like years weighed heavy on my soul.

THRASH: Sinner’s never prosper, mama used to say.

VINCE: And we’re the sinners, never prospered.

THRASH: Amen, Vince.

(Vince starts playing harmonica.)

POLICEMAN: Where on earth did you get a harmonica? I searched you before you went in.

VINCE: It’s just something us lifers take to.

THRASH: I’m starting to feel old, Vince.

VINCE: Do you think we should join the Aryan nation? Or convert to Islam?

THRASH: I don’t know. We could ask that gentleman on the bed.

VINCE: He looks deep in contemplation.

POLICEMAN: He was arrested for drunk driving. He’s passed out drunk.

VINCE: Or he’s slowly using a rock hammer to bust out.

POLICEMAN: By the time he wakes up, he’ll want to use a hammer on his own head.

THRASH: I think we could bust out.

VINCE: It could work. We didn’t make it as famous artists or murderers.

THRASH: Unless, you count that squirrel.

VINCE: We will send his mother acorns after we break out.

THRASH: But, how? The bastille is impenetrable.

VINCE: I learned some tricks watching Mythbusters. We casually ask the guard for some salsa and BAM! In five to twelve years, we’re through the wall.

POLICEMAN: I can hear you plotting. Perhaps you could talk quieter?

THRASH: No thank you. We want this breakout to be infamous.

VINCE: You’ll have the honor of telling our story.

Policeman: Oh, Lord.

(Policeman stands up.)

Maybe I should check on you two.

(Policeman approaches to find two mannequins and an empty jar of salsa.)



© Ben Ditmars 2015

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