An Interview with Patricia Alice Albrecht, Featured Poet for Poet’s Corner, August 27, 2015

“Poetry evokes what is good, beautiful and true. It imagines the unimaginable, describes the indefinable, and unveils what our senses cannot know or our intellect figure out. Poetry is theology leaping out of the file cabinet and into the heart. It is words that stir our souls.”
– Michael Leach

When and how did you become interested in poetry?
My first year in college I stumbled upon and was saved by Anne Sexton. Here was a woman writing from the depths of depression about life experiences that were more transformative for me than reading pastoral couplets. I decided that I might practice free verse instead of killing myself.

Why do you write?
I write poetry to help ground my understanding of human nature, foibles, transgressions, errors, deep sadness and death in ways that hopefully hold the seed of some forgiving hope. I’m probably addicted to finding meaning.

What do you feel poetry can do in our world?
Poetry can open doors, deepen compassion and connect people the way great music and stories have always done.

Does a poet have a role regarding the issues of social justice?
Some poets do have a strong role in raising awareness for issues on social justice. Certainly, Jean Toomer, Giovanni, Finney, Clifton, and current friend poets of mine, Tiana Clark, Ciona Rouse, Kana Gaines, Cynthia C. Harris, Christina Stoddard. I could name poets for pages. Every poet I hear or read touches on this, but if the question is whether it is incumbent upon poets to affect change, that would depend on the poet’s activist quotient. In that respect I feel much too cautious, although willing and wanting to be of service and forget Maya Angelou’s insistence to cast aside this self-obsessed timidity that trolls my confidence.

Who are the poets that have inspired you? Which poems have stuck with you?
“The Healing” by D. H. Lawrence is a strong reminder not to be controlled by stoicism. Writing poetry is a vent for everything my public persona masks against.

What do you want from your poetry?
Hopefully my poems can reach places in the world and leave a reader feeling less alone.

What encouragement would you give to aspiring poets?
For aspiring poets, be willing to write about the worst, the scariest, the most embarrassing experiences and ideas. Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to read outside your bounds from other poets and writers. Then be willing to read what you’ve written to someone who listens with love.

paAnd now one of Patricia’s poems:
My Mother’s Ashtray

My mother’s ashtray
a turquoise and russet
high-glazed rectangle
thrown from brick red clay
fired in Mrs. Pewabic’s home-oven
somewhere in Hamtramck
stayed close to every place
my mother ever sat.
Of all the things
I could have taken
I wanted what she held in her left hand.
Elbow propped on the arm of the chair
she cradled that pottery like a nest
against her heart
to let what she
time and time again each day
rest there.

Patricia Alice Albrecht
© 2015

Come and join us for Poet’s Corner, Thursday, August 27 at 7 PM on the 2nd Floor of Fondren Hall at Scarritt-Bennett Center. Parking is closest to Fondren in Lot A off of 18th Ave. South.

Joyce SohlJoyce Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence

Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.