Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely, and several of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press) and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).
Steve was kind enough to speak with Fox Adoption about his poetry, his writing, and his advice for writers. He has previously published five poems with Fox Adoption Magazine.
Fox Adoption: We enjoy the use of nature in your poetry. What inspires you? Is it as simple as a warm sunny day or do you have to stumble across something to become inspired?
Steve Klepetar: I’m a city boy, actually, raised in New York City. I went to high school in Manhattan. There was Central Park, of course, but I did spend many summers in rural Pennsylvania, where I hiked and went on canoe trips, so I guess that has flowed into my work. I tend to work less with warm sunny days than with fog and rain storms and snow. I’m drawn to water: rivers, lakes, and ponds especially, as entry ways to deep places.
FA: Your poetry often includes descriptions of people. Do you base these characters/descriptions on people you know?
Steve: Sometimes, though often they are composites of several people or exaggerated versions of real ones, especially my parents, who come off as a bit wilder than they really were.
FA: Have you always been interested in poetry and writing? Even from a young age or was it something that developed when you became an adult?
Steve: I went to a science and math oriented high school, but really became interested in writing, especially in poetry, when I was in college. That’s a long, long time ago by now, so I guess you could say I started, with little sense of what I was doing, at a young age. When I was a child, I was frustrated by my complete inability to draw, so writing was something I could do instead. I still can’t draw, so I use words as best as I can to make up for that.
FA: Are there any other poets you look up to while writing?
Steve: Sure, lots. Recently I’ve been reading Audre Lorde, especially The Black Unicorn; Charles Simic; Neruda; W.S. Merwin; Mary Oliver, and others.
FA: If you had advice for aspiring, non-published poets, what would that be?
Steve: I have three pieces of advice: first, read a lot. Poetry, fiction, non-fiction; exposure to words is good, and so is information of all kinds. You never know when you might want to write a poem about how Babe Ruth led the American League in Home Runs, RBI, Runs, Slugging Percentage, and On Base Percentage in 1919, the year before he was sold to the Yankees, while also going 9 – 5 as a pitcher. Second, have fun writing. It is a process and an experience, and there needs to be joy in it, just like, say, skiing or gardening or whatever you enjoy doing. Maybe you’ll publish and get famous; maybe not. But no one can take away the pleasure you derive from writing. Third, don’t give up. Keep writing, every day if you can manage it, or as often as you can. Send work out. Revise and send it out again. Pretty soon you’ll have a body of work and maybe a body of publications.
FA: What’s next for you?
Steve: I have a lot of uncollected poems from 2015 and 2016 that I should start organizing into a new book (my collection Family Reunion is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing) and maybe some chapbooks. I find that difficult because I really do try to write every day, and the drafts and poems keep mounting up. It’s a bit like trying to contain a river with a few buckets, or so it seems at times.