Poet-in-residence draws from many inspirations

Patricia Clark made three different arrangements of her poems before finalizing her newest book, “Sunday Rising,” which was published in February 2013 by Michigan State University Press.

“I like the symmetry of the same number of poems in sections,” she said, “I’m fond of order, or at least a brief sense of it in our chaotic world.”

Clark, Grand Valley’s poet-in-residence and a professor of writing, has authored three other books of poetry: “She Walks Into the Sea,” “My Father on a Bicycle” and “North of Wondering.” She said that “Sunday Rising” is a little different. “Maybe themes here are a little darker, but maybe a little more uplifting at the end,” she said.

Her books represent different stages of life, said Clark. “The older you become, the more you deal with different circumstances,” she said. “In my first book there was a lot of looking back at childhood and looking at family. These last books have been dealing with issues of mortality and aging.”

Clark described her new book as a spiritual journey. “I like the idea of bringing a reader in, taking you into an experience, then bringing you down into something, and then bringing you back out by the end,” she said. “It’s a traditional dramatic arc, like with a work of fiction, and I hope that happens in the book.”

For Clark, it is often a small detail in life or inspirations from other art works and poets that inspires a poem. She has drawn from “Word of the Day” emails and the rhythm of certain phrases, to visual and aural mediums. Writing is the way that Clark makes sense of the world around her. She said that writing is a way for her to interpret life in the way that other artists paint and make music.


Page last modified February 11, 2013