Trish Hopkinson has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops, and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry Review, Chagrin River Review, and Reconnaissance Magazine. Check out our interview with her:
Fem: Can you tell us about your blog?
Trish Hopkinson: I started posting regularly and promoting my blog last October. I finished my bachelors in English end of 2013 and wanted to reach out to the poetry and writing online community. This last year or so I’ve been focusing a lot on submissions, reading lit mags, and craft in general, so I thought it would be great to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. So far I’ve had a lot of positive response and met a lot of really great poets and writers who are doing similar things to support literary arts.
F: We think it’s great that you’re committed to sharing calls for submissions. How did you get started with this? Why do you do it?
TH: Since I mainly write poetry, I found there wasn’t really a place I could go to only find poetry submissions. I subscribe to a lot of excellent newsletters which provide submissions calls for all forms of writing, but often have to spend quite a bit of time reading the individual calls to find those which accept poetry and don’t charge high submission or contest fees. The more I became familiar with the markets, I began to find certain niches, which made great candidates for lists I originally created for myself, such as the two I’ve been able to share on my blog so far—“Paying Markets for Emerging Poets” and “Where to Submit Nontraditional and Found Poetry.” I’ve got some other lists I’m still working on and I’ll be posting those in the future.
F: On your blog, you call yourself “a selfish poet.” What do you mean by that?
TH: Several years ago I set writing aside, decided I needed to organize myself first and essentially de-prioritized it. Years past and I found myself emotionally ok, but definitely not content. Something was missing. I wound up at a small poetry slam event and quickly realized what was missing. I started writing again immediately and haven’t looked back since. Sure, I am happy to support the literary arts in any way I can, but ultimately, I do all of this for me. An extra benefit is that it also makes me emotionally more accessible to my family and friends.
F: What does your writing process look like?
TH: Often, I’m prompted to write a new poem by poetry I’ve read, music I’ve heard, art I’ve seen, or other experiences. Sometimes, it’s based on a memory that floats to the surface unexpectedly. I have an engrained fear that I might forget things I want to write about, phrases, lines, etc. so I think the first step is always to make sure I make note of the thoughts. I’ve been known to record myself saying lines into my iPhone during jogging, email myself ideas or lines, and even text message myself. Once I actually sit to write, it’s at my desk in my home office, at the computer. I like it quiet. When it’s nice out I might grab the laptop and sit in my back yard.
F: What are your writing guilty pleasures?
TH: Ugh, I am horrible at having multiple things going while I’m writing. Facebook open, email open, etc. But I can’t seem to shut it all down. If I’m really into the poem or piece I’m writing, I just completely ignore it all anyway. So maybe it’s not a problem.
F: What writers influence your poetry?
TH: Sylvia Plath for her unique and vivid darkness, Allen Ginsberg for his no bullshit approach, Pablo Neruda for his great style and simple topics, Rilke—for everything, and there are many more, but I do have to mention that I am definitely influenced by the writers around me as well, specifically my poetry professors Laura Hamblin and Rob Carney, who both have publications out, and of course, all my poetry friends in the Utah slam and open mic communities.
F: How do you personally define feminism?
TH: Feminism, to me, is being fair and just. Feminism is not an ideology that should be used to condemn any one way of thinking, but rather to communicate, educate, and broaden the perspectives of those who are treating others unjustly.
F: What makes a piece of writing feminist?
TH: Feminist writing can be any writing that either celebrates diversity or undertakes the hard topics of social justice.
F: When did you decide to officially call yourself a “writer?”
TH: I’ve always considered writing my artistic outlet (maybe more of a hobby), but it’s only been the last few years when I’ve had some successes with submissions and contests that I considered myself an “official” poet; and since then, I’ve also discovered that when I put in the effort, I can really write anything.
Trish Hopkinson is a project manager by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures here and be sure to follow her on Facebook.