Introducing Glenda Higgins
Glenda Higgins, took a workshop/class in poetry and had a poetry attack. After having studied for many years to be a musician, she found fate had other ideas.
Residing in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, she would walk the seawall, throwing herself on the ground to write down the poems that just wouldn’t stop knocking on her brain. The beauty of the sea, rainforest, and birds of all kinds was captured in this book of poetry. It is a frozen moment in time. A place that is rapidly disappearing as urban development encroaches on “the naturally beautiful spots” of this country.
Her journey into writing took off. After being dragged onstage at a poetry cafe called La Quena, she dabbled in performance poetry, often playing her flute for other poets. A chance encounter with Gerry Gilbert resulted in a poetry reading on his radio show called Radio Free Rainforest.
Since then she has taken more writing courses, joined writing groups both online and off, and, of course, written more brain-knocking poetry.
Interview – Book: Poetry in Motion – a call from a fellow poet
Creative Talents Unleashed: Hi Glenda, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Glenda: Thank you.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Glenda: I am a full-time writer now but I have been many things in my life, possibly due to having lived all over Canada. One of the most intriguing places I’ve lived was Banff, Alberta. I’d climb a mountain every morning to sit and listen to all the dogs across the village raise their voices when the 9 am siren went off.
This led to taking the Outward Bound Course where I walked with my troop for 9 days into the states and did a solo in a snow bowl on top of the highest mountain in the cascades. I had nothing to eat or drink for three days, no tent – sleeping under a full moon in the snow. The novel I’m writing now was inspired by this.
Creative Talents Unleashed: So when did you fall in love with poetry or writing in general, when did you decide this life was for you? Tell us a bit about that discovery process.
Glenda: I attended a poetry writing course on a whim. I had been in a coffee shop waiting for my music lesson to begin, picked up a local paper and a very tiny ad for this course jumped out at me. I called the number and was told, “It’s disconnected.” So I went to the art gallery where the course was being held. The final exercise was a poem that I dashed off so fast I asked the instructor if I could go for a walk and come back when everyone else was finished. She said yes and when I returned, she was looking at me funny. She knew something.
For the next two weeks, the poems flowed out of me – waking me in the night, bothering me at work, making me take baths with my head under the water to try to stop them. I had two hundred written so I decided to attend the “Radio Free Rainforest” show by Gerry Gilbert being held at the Glass Slipper Jazz Venue in Vancouver, B.C. Gerry was featuring several famous poets onstage along with musicians and broadcasting it on the radio. During the intermission, Gerry walked right up to me and asked if I’m a poet. I said yes. He said meet me in two weeks at the Tim Horton’s on Davie, bring your poetry. I might feature you on my show.
Well, he sat there at the appointed time and listened to me. After which he said, I usually give new poets fifteen minutes, you’ve got an hour.
He launched me. I read at La Quena, a coffee house featuring poets and several other venues around Vancouver with my musician friends. Gerry had me back him up on my flute at many performances. One was at the Glass Slipper where I had met him. Next morning, we were sad to hear the someone had burnt the venue down after we all left the night before.
I kept writing poetry for a couple more years and just before I left Vancouver, I was walking the seawall again. The poetry flowed out of me so fast and with great length that I had to throw myself down on the ground to get it all written. When I took a short cut through the forest to get back home, I was walking under a huge Douglas Fir tree and a small branch fell on my head. I looked up and saw a raven looking down at me. He had obviously thrown it. That’s when the poem GREEN DREAMS hit me, also on the head. I wrote it down while he cawed with great delight.
The poetry stopped then. I left Vancouver for Toronto and wrote a couple more poems when my parents died but my muse had other ideas. My poems have turned into stories now.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Why do you write, what is it that you’re trying to communicate through your work?
Glenda: I’m a big reader. It started when I was a child – I read Dickens then and almost everything in the children’s library. This resulted in working in the library for ten years, where I continued to consume many books. I think my writing is a conversation I’m continuing with all those other writers who were my life for so many years.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Where does your inspiration come from, what might inspire you at any moment to write a story or poem?
Glenda: My poems appeared like freight trains and I had to get them written down before they disappeared down the tracks, forever
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the hardest thing about writing your book?
Glenda: Deciding which poems to include in the 80. I have about 500 written. It wasn’t easy.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the easiest thing about writing your book?
Glenda: Having so many poems to choose from when I finally decided to get published.
Creative Talents Unleashed: There are many authors who say that in the process of writing a book you learn things about yourself. Did you learn anything in your book writing process about yourself, if so what?
Glenda: My poems came from my higher power, I think. They had messages for me to really pay attention to. They wanted me to see that I wasn’t alone in this world, that I belonged to the human condition.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What in your view is the role or responsibility of a writer or poet, if there is any?
Glenda: I really believe that when a writer speaks to and about the human condition they are fulfilling the most important role that exists. People go through life in such hurries, with so much responsibility, pain, suffering, joy, hopefulness, lack of understanding, denial, emotional deadness, emotional aliveness, etc. that we, as writers, need to record it for them – for those times when they really need to read about “what’s it all about, Alfie.”
Creative Talents Unleashed: What are your ambitions as a writer, where do you hope to see yourself in say 5 years?
Glenda: I have a five- year plan to get all my many books published. Some are finished, some are almost finished and some are still in my head, not going away – just hammering away.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Who is your favorite writer or poet? Perhaps you have a favorite quote from them that you would like to share.
Glenda: I have so many that I couldn’t begin to list them – but I have written many poems celebrating these great people.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who have dreams of publishing or making writing a career choice?
Glenda: Poetry has no master. I found it can’t be taught, explained or contained in meter or rhyme, if it doesn’t want to be. I know many people will argue with me about that and have. This is just how it is for me.
As for other types of writing, I’d say, “Take as many courses as you can!” There is so much to know and to do wrong. Poetry leads us into other types of writing, but we really need to know what we are doing – how to characterize, which narrative voice to choose, how to revise using our “inner critic”, how to work with our editors, etc. I now understand why people take university courses in “writing”. I’m taking a great course right now in short story writing from Stratford Career Institute that I would recommend for all writers. The information is good for writing novels as well.
Making a living as a writer – I’ve never attempted it, probably because I didn’t believe in myself enough. Writing is what I did, couldn’t stop from doing, and now finally am taking seriously and devoting my every breath to. If I start making money, it will be an added bonus that I will appreciate on top of being able to finally not do a “day job from hell”. To the people who are making a living writing – “I’m really happy you managed…keep the flagship flying for us. …..love, Glenda. ”
Excerpt from the book: Poetry in Motion
Poetry in Motion
Poems stretching around the world
From pens of trouble
And pens of love
To tell it all again
In foreign tongues
Stretching, stretching, can they reach
The stones on the forgotten beach
Where man began
In a distant land
Marking tributes to the gods
Who visited with fire
From the sky – silver and gold
Flashing radiant wonders
Stretching, stretching, did they reach?
Our primitive minds
Waiting with sharp stones
To carve poems
Washed by the waves
Waiting to be reborn
Poetry in motion
A forgotten way to see
Let’s form lines around the globe
And write some poetry
© Glenda Higgins
Available in Paperback and Kindle
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