Friday, July 18, 2014


Name? Tim Staley

Age? 39

Location? Las Cruces, New Mexico

How long have you been writing poems? Since the 3rd Grade

Do you have a specific writing style? John Hartford said “style is based on limitations.” I try to leave more and more out. I try to place mystery carefully.

Do you write as a career? Who does, Maya Angelou? 

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Each new poem.

What projects of yours have been recently published?  I’ve had some poems published recently in burntdistrict, brickplight and Canary.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? My first full length poetry collection, Lost On My Own Street, was inspired by parenthood, wilderness and illness. It’s been “finished” a dozen times.

Where can we find your work?

The great fiction writer Albert Martinez featured me on his Lively Words site:

Here I am in a few journals:

Oh, I’m also a rapper, MC FLASHCARD:

       How often do you write? Not nearly enough.

How do you react to rejections? One of my mentors Kathleene West wrote a poem about rejection. I react to rejection how this poem of her’s does:

            The Poet Considers Destroying His Mailbox

            Thursday, and the mailbox gapes,
            olive-drab, unexpectedly empty.
            The afternoon’s awry.
            The toothbrush molts, coffee freezes
            in the cup and the veins on your wrist
            push sullenly at the surface.
            Your friends fling the telephone
            out the window and slide out of your house
            on the cord. Your lover walks up the stairs
            and vanishes when she touches her hand
            to the knob. Stamps won’t stick. The avocado rolls
            on the ledge, stays hard and green.
            Did you really think the woman in the bar
            would remember your number?
            What did you expect? To hold love and work
            like a blueprint in your hand?

            By: Kathleene West, Water Witching, 1984, Copper Canyon Press

What is your favorite book? I’m on a Hermann Hesse kick. I’m reading Narcissus and Goldmund at the moment. I love his balance. He talks about how a woman’s face giving birth and her face in orgasm are essentially the same face. I’m down with that kind of thing.

Who are some of your favorite poets? At the moment I’m digging Robert Bly. I like he reinvents himself every few years. Joshua Beckman, Bob Dylan, James Tate and Mary Ruefle also impress me in this way. 

What is your favorite word? mittelschmerz
What makes you cry? Several songs in Frozen.
Beach or Mountains? Mountains, preferably with snow.

Cats or Dogs? Dogs with a smear of Pit Bull

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? George Harrison

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Jerry Garcia

Shakespeare or Bukowski?  That’s not fair.
Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

My poetry press:

Books for sale: my most recent chapbook The Sickness Suite is available here:

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

Let me share my newest poem, replete with an actual catfish:

Last Day in Alabama

Grass snake in the shower,
a turtle behind the fire house
and two friends in Oregon
stuck in jail. Imagine if
the last thing you ever felt
was the grip of a spider web.
With sausage on the line
Sylvia reels a catfish
up from the lake bottom.
We can't get the hook
out of his mouth. He grins
and takes matters into his own
razor fins, Papa passes out,
toddler blood pools on the dock
and that snake—that pulsing rivulet
that slid over my feet in the shower—
we locked him in the tackle box
for Sylvia to see in the morning
but somehow in the night
he jimmied the latch and broke free.

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