Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Author Interview: Poet Antoinette Voûte Roeder

Post by NCW Director Kerrie Flanagan 

A few years back while staying at the beautiful Capital Hill Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Denver with my husband, I met  Antoinette. She and her husband were in from Canada visiting some family. We happened to share the same table at breakfast and I am so glad we did. 

Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I learned that she was also a writer. We talked about writing, I told her about Northern Colorado Writers and she told me about her poetry. We exchanged business cards and promised to stay in touch--and we did. 

She presented at my 2008 Northern Colorado Writers conference, I helped her with the launch of her first book of poetry, Weaving the Wind and she even helped my daughter with some  information and photos when Delaney did a report on Canada. 

When Antoinette wrote to me last week and shared that her second book of poetry, Still Breathing, was being released, I was thrilled. She took a few minutes out of her busy day to answer some interview questions. 

KERRIE: When did you start writing?

ANTOINETTE: I started writing poetry at the age of 16.  I had an English teacher to whom I had been submitting naive and sentimental fiction stories.  He was so generous with his time and comments.  He surely could not have enjoyed the romantic blather I was producing.  Perhaps in desperation he asked whether I would like to try poetry.  I did and was smitten:  especially when I entered the poetry contest at the high school that year and won both first prize and an honorable mention.  I've never looked back.

KERRIE: What do you enjoy most about writing poetry?

ANTOINETTE: I love the concise nature of poetry.  And yet it is a vast container.  It can hold every kind of emotion, every kind of experience imaginable.  Because of its brevity it is possible to distill and refine the language, the words, so that a poem can really pack a punch.  I also feel a poem can be almost magical in that what it DOESN'T say is as important as what it does.  Much is left to the reader to bring to a poem.

KERRIE: Where do you find your inspiration for your poetry?

ANTOINETTE: As indicated before, I think there is no subject that would not qualify for a poem.  I find my inspiration in nature, in people, in my own experience, in prayer and meditation, in yoga, in music, in the poetry of others, in the state of the world and our earth.

KERRIE: Tell me about your writing process and writing routine.

ANTOINETTE: Oh my, I was afraid you might ask that.  Though I am tremendously disciplined in my life, much to the chagrin of some of my more spontaneous friends, I do not have a writing routine.  I write when moved.  I carry a little notebook along on walks, I have one sitting by my prayer bench in case God wishes to address me by way of poetry.  My routine consists of being receptive and "listening" with the heart.

KERRIE:Who are some of your favorite poets?

ANTOINETTE: Favorite poets, from long ago to recent times:  Rumi, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Donne, Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Oliver, Denise Levertov.

KERRIE: What advice do you have for writers who are exploring the world of poetry.

ANTOINETTE: Read, read, read.  Read the poets you love best.  You will inevitably start by writing like them but one could do worse!  In time one's own style develops.  Listen to the cadence, the rhythm, the sound of your words:  taste them.  Poetry is such a sensual experience.  Join a writers group, read your work aloud to others.

KERRIE: Do you have a website or blog?

ANTOINETTE: I have neither website nor blog.  I am by nature an introverted person and the very thought of going public like that makes me shudder.  Which is weird because my greatest wish is to communicate with people by way of poetry, to touch something in them that might cause them to say "Ah!  That is exactly how I feel it too."

KERRIE: Thank you for visiting with me today. ANTOINETTE: Thanks ever so much, this was really fun.

You can find Antoinette's books on

                                                                No Poem
                                                                Forget I wrote this.
                                                                I did not.
                                                                All I did was
                                                                sit with fingers loosely
                                                                wrapped around a
                                                                thick ceramic mug whose
                                                                contents warm more than
                                                                my hands; whose weight
                                                                drops wordlessly into
                                                                my body, every part;    
                                                                whose rich dark brew
                                                                speaks nothing, merely
                                                                sits within the cup as
                                                                surely as a dark
                                                                sweet nectar stirs within
                                                                my soul.      
                                                                                          ~Antoinette Voûte Roeder


Margo Berendsen said...

I love this poem and poetry is a genre I always tell myself I should read more of but never get around to. Thanks to blogs I get a little taste of it here and there.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Once upon a time I wrote very bad poetry and was wise enough to stop. It's so much nicer to read good work by talented poets. Thanks for this introduction to Antonette, Kerrie.

And BTW, I really like the new look for the blog. Nice job.

Kerrie said...

Margo, I am the same way--I read a good poem like this and tell myself I should be reading more.

Pat, I am glad you like the new look and Antoinette's poem. :-)

Anonymous said...

Antoinette is my sister. When, after an aircraft accident in New Mexico, I returned to The Netherlands, she was 20 and I was 27. We had been apart the better part of 10 years in our respective schools and I in the military. I remember her as a grade schooler showing me drawings of Minnie Mouse looking fashion models on very high stiletto heels. Later she started writing and sent me some poems which went straight to the heart. I admire her.

Reinier E. Voute
The Netherlands

Sasha Roeder Mah said...

Dear Mom,
Congratulations on the new book. I love the poem on this blog; I think it's one of my favorites. The spare-ness of the language really works, I think. You look great in cyber space, too, by the way! To Kerrie: thank you for helping bring my mom's work to a bigger audience. It means a lot to her.

Kerrie said...

It's my pleasure. :-)


Anonymous said...

What fun to find a friend I grew up with in Hagerman, NM. Enjoyed your poem and can't wait to check out the books on Amazon. Jane Elliott Gates

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