A Brief Bio: Walt Page, “The Tennessee Poet”, is a romantic old rock drummer, musician, USAF veteran and an open heart surgery survivor. He has been published on Vita Brevis, Visual Verse and Slasher Monster Magazine. Walt lives in the Tennessee country with his wife Susan, 2 horses, and 9 rescue dogs.
Tell me about your blog, Walt’s Writings:
WP: I started Walt’s Writings On Life in 2017 after going through several months of recovery and cardiac rehab after my open heart surgery. I was limited in what the doctors would let me do, so I decided to start writing again. My friend Google pointed me to WordPress, and after I read more about it, I decided to use it for a blog about the things going on in my life. At first, I wasn’t writing much poetry, but once I discovered that the poems I posted earlier were doing much better than my other posts, I decided to write more.
I see that it’s amassed quite the following–how does that feel?
WP: I am still amazed at the number of followers I have, Brian. It was never my intention to write poems or posts just to get more followers. I cherish the fact that people think enough about my work to read it, and I value my followers and the comments they leave on my posts.
I received this recently: “…know that your writing/poetry speaks to many of us, and helps us. You have a purpose!” Comments like that keep me writing my poetry.
It becomes almost addictive though, and I have to be careful to continue to write what I feel, what comes from my heart, and not write just to get more followers. I have seen some bloggers use giveaways to get people to like and follow their blog which seems kind of artificial to me. I have liked and followed other blogs, and I guess that their followers have seen my comments and decided to check out my work. I hate to see new bloggers (or established bloggers for that matter) ask someone to read their work in comments on a post. I always check the work of someone when I receive notification that they have followed me and if I like it then I usually will follow them. I also always thank every follower and thank every comment I receive. I don’t follow someone only because they followed me. I guess the basics work for me.
How would you describe your own poetry?
WP: My poetry is, well, my poetry. I write whatever I am feeling at the time. It may be about chronic pain, the love I have for my wife, or about a song title that intrigued me. I have never had any training or taken any courses, although I have read articles on advice to writers. I don’t know much about all the different types of poetry. Some of my poems rhyme, some don’t. As a musician and old rock drummer, I seem to focus more on the rhythm of my words. I read everything I write out loud to see if it flows well. I try to create images with my words and phrases.
I want myself to be able to see, feel, smell and hear what I have written. I don’t follow “the rules”, and I don’t really know what they are except for some Japanese forms like Haiku. I try and keep my poetry simple. I have read many poems that bewilder me, and that I have no idea what they are trying to say.
If you aren’t writing, what are you typically doing?
WP: I live out in the country, on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. We call our six acres the Highland Acres Ranch, and it is home to my wife Susan and I, our two horses, and our nine rescue dogs. My wife works at a local hospital, and I spend my days with the animals, taking care of lawns, trees, barns, and equipment. I read a lot of other blogs and listen to all kinds of music. As a musician, I enjoy all types of music, but I am partial to Classic Rock from the 50s – 80s. I check out the latest photos of our three grandsons on Facebook and Instagram. I enjoy reading different types of books and enjoy anything by Dan Brown, Hemingway, Carl Hiaasen, and Dean Koontz.
What factors in your life most inform your poetry?
WP: Many different things become the basis of my poetry. My love of life, my chronic pain and health issues, my memories, and the romantic side of me all contribute. I am a PK, a Preacher’s Kid, and that has given me a firm foundation of respect, admiration, and compassion.
I am inspired by simple things – a song title, a quote I may have read, other poets I follow, a walk in the woods, or the nicker of our horses. It can come at any time, anywhere I am. I always keep a pen and notebook handy. I have lived a long and eventful life, so I have a deep well to draw from.
What do you consider the most difficult part of writing poetry?
WP: That’s an easy one – writing poetry. No type of writing is easy, but poetry seems to be more difficult when you try too hard. Words don’t always come easily, and the pressure I put on myself to “do better” can cause stress. I have to remind myself that doing better is a matter of perception. During difficult times, when words won’t come or I keep drawing a blank, I force myself to remember why I started writing, why I enjoy writing poetry and why my followers enjoy my work. Writing is a creative art and creativity is always difficult.
Walk me through the life cycle of a typical poem for you?
My poems usually happen very quickly. A thought occurs, my mind kicks into gear and words start to flow. If it happens that way, then it is meant to be. If the words don’t flow, I put it in my ideas folder.
The actual writing of my poetry usually takes less than an hour from idea to paper. I write everything by hand, using a pen and a notebook. I then type it out as a document, find an appropriate image to use and copy and paste it into WordPress with whatever categories and tags I decide to use, and then schedule it. If any editing occurs, it is during any of these steps.
If you could let our readers know one thing, what would it be?
WP: I would tell the Vita Brevis readers that you and this Poetry Magazine are a blessing to them and to new and established poets. I would ask them to always comment on poems you publish, to thank the poets for their poems included here, and to thank you, Brian, for your efforts in bringing quality poetry to everyone. If they happen to be poets or writers themselves, I would encourage them to submit their work to Vita Brevis and other online journals and magazines.
What’s next for The Tennessee Poet?
WP: I will continue to write my poetry and submit my work to various journals and contests. I hope to start soon on self-publishing a collection of my poetry, and I plan to start reciting my poems on Soundcloud.