Wednesday, April 8, 2020

STONES and ILLUSIONS: Poetry Collections by Charles Ghigna Part II: Author Interview & Giveaway

If you missed last week's blog, please take a minute to read some of the poems I enjoyed in Charles Ghigna's new collections, STONES and ILLUSIONS. In this follow-up post, Charles answers questions I sent him via email.


CAROL: First of all, why poetry? What is it about poetry that you love and couldn’t do without? What made you start writing poetry in the first place? Have you written poetry since you were a kid? (confession: I have!)

CHARLES: Poetry provides the perfect little package of words for sharing thoughts and emotions. It lifts the heart and sends the spirit soaring. I started keeping a daily journal as a kid. Within a few weeks the writing bug bit and I couldn't stop. Soon I found myself putting those random thoughts into rambling little poems, some with rhymes, some not. Most of my early poems were silly nonsense -- until I was smitten by a girl in high school. I started pouring my heart out in verse -- writing lots of bad, self-conscious drivel, keeping it to myself and throwing most of it away. I also had an English teacher who inspired us with his readings of poetry -- Frost, Millay, Sandburg, Teasdale and others. By then I was hooked. I started reading and writing poetry most every day. It's like breathing. I couldn't stop now if I wanted to.    

CAROL: Where do your ideas come from? You talk about nature, the circus, relationships, imagination, yourself as a child…on and on. Do you get entranced with a subject and write a series (like with the circus) or do they come out in bits at different times and then you realize, “oh, I’ve just written my fifth poem about the circus”? What is your favorite thing to write about?

CHARLES: I'm inspired by little things, quiet moments. I like to listen and observe. I like to celebrate life. I practice gratitude. I take long walks. My inspiration and ideas come from Nature, children, pets, animals, family, friends, and from the real and imagined visions I see along my daily two-mile hike. Much of my inspiration for my books and poetry for children comes from my beloved grandchildren, Charlotte Rose and Christopher. Their names are proudly displayed on the dedication pages of my latest books. My wife inspires all my love poems these days. My son's art inspires me too. Our first book together, ILLUSIONS, was just released. You can see samples of his paintings at

CAROL: You seem to like/use both rhyme and free verse equally. Am I correct? How do you decide which you’ll use, or does the poem decide for you? 😁

CHARLES: Yes. I like to write in rhyme and free verse. Most of my poems for children are written in rhyme. Most of my poems for teens and adults are written in free verse. Sometimes it's fun to sneak in a rhyme or two within the lines of my free verse to lift the language -- and to see if anyone's paying attention. 

CAROL: Ha ha! You seem to like to play with words a lot. How do you know when your poem is done? (speaking from someone who recently changed a short poem several times). Can you comment on your process? Do you work on several poems at a time? Get inspired, write it down, and then move on? Do you “try” to write poetry? Or does it just happen? 

CHARLES: My poems usually come fast and furiously. I write them down as though I'm taking dictation. After I get it all out in a rough first draft, I usually let it sit a day or two. I then return with fresh eyes to polish and revise. When it all sounds about right and feels about right, I stop. Your great question, "How do you know when your poem is done?" makes me think of Paul Valery's comment, "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." Also, Robert Frost's famous anecdote comes to mind. When asked, "What does your poem mean?" Frost replied, What do you want me to do, say it over again in worser English?"

CAROL: At one point you said that ILLUSIONS was more for a YA audience. Just curious why you said that. It seems as if both collections would appeal to both YA and adult readers.

CHARLES: Thank you for that. I agree. I always hate to limit the age of the potential audience for poetry. I'd like to think that my poems in ILLUSIONS: Poetry & Art for the Young at Heart is for all ages -- middle graders, teens, YA -- and EVERYONE who is young at heart!

CAROL: Did you and Chip collaborate on the illustrations? I’d like to hear a little about that process if you can. 

CHARLES: This project was great fun -- and a great surprise to us! We really didn't sit down to write a book together. It just happened. I was writing a few poems to go with some of his paintings -- and he was painting images to go with some of my poems. We posted some of them on social media and people seemed to like them. We kept the fun going and before long we realized we were creating an entire collection of poetry and art that maybe others might enjoy too. 

Indigio by Chip Ghigna 


I'm giving away my copy of STONES and Charles is giving away a copy of ILLUSIONS--autographed by both himself and his son Chip. Please leave me a comment, along with your email address if you are new to my blog.  A winner will be drawn the evening of April 10. If you share either this post or the last one on social media, I'll enter your name twice; just make sure you tell me what you did.


If these posts whet your appetite for more poetry, here are a few more titles that Charles is proud of Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer came out at the end of last year. A beautiful new picture book, Once Upon Another Time, is coming out this fall and is co-written with Matt Forrest Esenwine and illustrated by Andres Landazabal. 


Danielle H. said...

I enjoy reading and writing poetry, so thank you for the chance to win a copy. I shared on tumblr:

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Danielle. You're now in three times!

Sandra Warren said...

I love poetry although I must confess struggling to understand some of it. I loved reading Charles's responses to your questions. It's always interesting to learn what motivates writers to write what they write!

Jana Leah B said...

I love that Charles & his son Chip were able to collaborate on this collection & inspired each other.
turtle6422 at gmail dot com

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Jana Leah and Sandra. You're both in!

Rosi said...

This sounds like a neat book. Thanks for the intersting post. I will pass on the giveaway.

Donna Earnhardt said...

OOOOH! Love poetry and great post!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Donna. But the giveaway ended yesterday! I hope u have a chance to check out his poetry!

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