Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interview with Craig "Spiderman" Steele - "An Eyeball in My Garden" Poet

Glad you "dropped" by, Craig. 

#1. What is your “favorite” spooky poem from the collection?

You mean, other than my own, of course (LOL).  It’s a difficult choice because there are so many poems in the book that I really enjoy.  But, to be fair and answer your question, I have to say my favorite poem in the collection is “Haunted” by William Shakespeery.  From a story viewpoint, I always get a creepy little shiver up my spine every time I read it.  I also admire it from a technical viewpoint: I love his rhyme scheme and I especially like his clever and creative rhymes at the end of the second stanza.  (Blog readers, this teaser is supposed to motivate you to buy a copy of the book to read Bill’s poem and see what I’m talking about!!)  A close second favorite is “The Corner” by Mike Sullivan.  I think it’s really spooky the way the narrator in the poem goes from being an observer of the darkness to becoming part of it.

#2. Where did your inspiration come from for your particular poems?

The short answer: Life.  The long answers:
“Where Nightmares Dwell” grew out of an unfortunate habit I had from my teen years until my late 30’s of sometimes awaking in the middle of the night, startled and with my heart pounding, thinking I could see darker shapes drifting through the darkness in my room.  Some nights I’d be so freaked out by this experience that I’d have to get up and turn on a light just to convince myself the shadow shapes weren’t there.  (Happily, I outgrew this problem after I got married – an unexpected benefit of marriage, I guess.)  I tried to capture this experience in my poem.
“Camp Creepy” is based on my experiences as a Boy Scout at summer camps.  I was always the first one to get homesick.  When everyone else was sitting around the campfire at night enjoying roasted marshmallows, I’d be staring into the dark woods beyond the firelight, listening to twigs snapping and bushes rustling and trying to see what creatures were making the noises.

#3. How does feedback from the other poets affect your final decision?

I always carefully consider any feedback I get from other poets.  In revising a poem, suggestions by other poets often make a big contribution to the revisions.  I especially like the different perspectives I get from others.  That allows me to see aspects of the story that I didn’t consider, to improve phrasing and rhymes, and to identify passages where I was blind to problems or lack of clarity because I was “too close” to the writing.

#4. How long have you been a rhymer?

 I’ve been writing children’s poetry seriously since about 2003.

#5. Do you write varied forms of poetry for children?

Yes, I do.  I write mainly “traditional” rhyming poetry (with a wide variety of rhyming schemes and stanza constructions) and haiku, but also some free verse, acrostics, concrete poetry, and I have written a few rhyming stories of picture book length.  So far, my published works have been rhymed poems and haiku.

#6.How are you personally promoting your group’s debut book?

There are three county libraries close to where I live, and I have friends on the staffs at all three.  I plan to take in a copy of our book to show them and suggest they might like a copy for their shelves and also plan to drop off “tons” of bookmarks with the book’s cover printed on them for patrons to take away for free as a way of advertising the book.   Also, each library has special displays at Halloween and I’m suggesting to them that a special reading of spooky poems (from our book, of course) around that time might really spice up their Halloween observances.

I’m also planning to approach the teachers at my children’s elementary school to see if they’d be interested in a school visit, perhaps near Halloween, for me to share some spooky poems with the kids and talk about writing poetry. 

#7. Do you plan to do any book signings? If so, where can fans find you?

I plan to contact the local bookstores in Erie (we have the usual big name chains and several independents).  First, I need to develop some presentation ideas to go along with any book signing (decorations, games, readings, etc.), rather than just offering to have me sit behind a pile of “Eyeballs” waiting for folks to rush up for my signature.  So, a book signing is still a plan-in-progress for now.

Gail, thanks for letting me drop in to your blog.  This is my first “author interview” and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to talk about our book and my poems.

You are very welcomed, Craig. Glad you weren't camera shy. :)

Next up.......
straight from the Pumpkin Patch.....
Jennifer Cole Judd


  1. Super interview! I enjoyed your backstory Craig! Interesting how you were inspired to write from childhood fears - nice job making lemonade from the lemons in your life. :) Thanks again, Gayle!

    Susie Sawyer

  2. Great interview Gayle and Craig. It's always interesting to learn the inspiration behind a particular poem.



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