CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper writer, feature stories writer, poet, fiction writer, photographer, and painter. She maintains a blog at https://chrisricecooper.blogspot.com. She has a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice and completed all of her poetry and fiction workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing with a focus on poetry. She, her husband Wayne, sons Nicholas and Caleb, cats Nation and Alaska reside in the St. Louis area.
Christal Ann Rice Cooper on April 13, 2019
"I worship Jesus - not a celebrity, political person, political party, philosophy, or spiritual leader -Only Jesus Christ." Christal Ann Rice Cooper Speaks!
Saturday, January 19, 2019
#61 Backstory of the Poem "Neptune's Choir" by Linda Imbler
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***This is the sixty-first in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE
POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific
poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem. All BACKSTORY OF THE
POEM links are at the end of this piece.
Title Photo Below: Linda Imbler in January of 2019. Copyright permission granted by Linda Imbler for this CRC Blog Post Only
# 61 Backstory of the Poem
by Linda Imbler
Can you go
through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea
was first conceived in your brain until final form?This poem evolved the way many of mine do.I think over my day before falling asleep and
ask myself if there’s anything that has stuck with me throughout the day.In the case of this particular poem, I had
been reading about all the flooding in Florida.I conceived that the people singing at the shore are actually the people
who live there.The idea that they sing
through their day rather than just go through the motions of everyday living or simply talking seemed more interesting and artistic to me and also would to a reader. The concept of the gulls grieving for those victims of the unforgiving shore was knocked around for awhile. I see the gulls as the rest of us who were not part of this disaster. Does the fact that we were flying mean I think we are better than those who perished? Not at all. Simply, we were on higher ground.
phrases of the poem were actually recorded on a small recorder (Right) I keep by my bed
so I wouldn’t lose any thoughts. The next day, I grabbed a pencil (because it
was handier) and started fleshing out the poem.I made sure I got a lyrical rhythm going with the work.When my poems are done, in other words, when
I think I have said what I want to say the way I want to say it, I take the
paper to my Mac and use dictation to read it aloud.This is important because my poems are not
just meant to be read.They are also
meant to be spoken and meant to be heard.
Where were you
when you started to actually write the poem?And please describe the place in great detail.I was in my library, with the glass French doors,where I have my books, lots of framed art,
mementos, a 20 gallon fish tank with two clownfish, my computer, lots of paper,
pens, pencils.I sit on a comfortable
brown back chair and I write away.I
write in snatches or until completion.I
cannot write to music like some of my poet friends because I tend to move to
music and my handwriting is bad enough without having words smeared all over
What month and
year did you start writing this poem?September, 2018 (Right:)
How many drafts
of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a
photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?)
My first draft was the recording.I always try to do all my poems on the same
sheet of paper.If I have any added
lines that, at the end, don’t fit that poem, I will save them for another
poem.Here are my notes for “Neptune’s
Choir.”Luckily, I had not shredded them
yet.I often do that once a poem if
finished so I don’t have a lot of used paper lying about.
Were there any
lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final
version? And can you share them with
us? Since this is a shorter poem than some of what I write, I
do not have any extraneous lines to share.
If perhaps I do another one of these interviews with you, I would be
happy to share any extra lines.
What do you want
readers of this poem to take from this poem?Nature can be
cruel.We are not in charge of the
weather.However, that should never mean
we should not mourn those to whom disastrous things occur because of bad
Which part of
the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?The part about these people singing through life.It made them seem more alive which makes it
all the more tragic that they are no longer so.
Has this poem been published before?And if so where?I have never submitted this poem for
publication until a few days ago.
Anything you would like to add?I truly appreciate the opportunity to
share my creative process through your blog.I am honored.Thank you.
There were hundreds of
people singing there,
Voices at the shore.
Then the waves came
So many songsters
While seagulls lamented
Articulating above the
water’s flow and ebb,
With shrill voices,
The fearful nature of
Imbler’s poetry collections include “Big Questions, Little Sleep,”“Lost and Found,” and “The Sea’s Secret
Song.”Her newest e-book “Pairings” is
due out soon.She is a Kansas-based
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee.Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.
I can be
contacted through my blog or on Facebook at my page “Linda Imbler Poet”