Through the Eyes of a Poet series #13
Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Mark A. Schrader
Objective: To encourage people to broaden their reading interests through poetry, support the poetry community, and introduce you to poets and their personal stories.
For updates on this series: Join this Author Newsletter.
It’s funny how you discover things by accident. I’ve been working with this poet for some time now in the Poets on Medium Facebook group and had no idea he hails from the same town where I was born, Charlotte, North Carolina. Sometimes it seems people are millions of miles away from the other side of the computer screen. What a small world it can be sometimes!
Mark A. Schrader is the featured poet today and I hope you’ll take a little time to get to know this poet–what makes him tick–and see if his work speaks to you! (Catch up on the other Through the Eyes of a Poet Series features by clicking the tab at the top of the homepage on this blog. Thanks for following along and giving POETRY some space in your heart. We poets thank you!)
Mark has been writing for as long as he can remember and only recently began sharing his work on Medium. His work is very much an outward expression of what goes on in his heart and his mind. Driven by the need to record his inner workings–Mark creates poetry which explores his thoughts, his experiences, and very much his emotional reactions to it all. These poems function as a way to sort through all of those things, but also as a very important record of his place in this world–as a thinking, breathing, feeling human.
I think this is a very special thing to do and to have. Recently Mark wrote about an experience where he’d inadvertently deleted a passage of thoughts he’d recorded for the purpose of turning it into poetry:
Those words were precious. I don’t know when I wrote them. I don’t remember where they came from. But they were mine. They were a part of me. They were ephemeral. The words that haven’t escaped the ideas section of the note’s app could be lost forever with a momentary lapse and improper deletion. –Mark A. Schrader
You can just feel the emotion over his lost words. Words are precious and it is a beautiful thing to be able to transform our words, our thoughts, into poetry. I asked Mark to describe the vision for his work:
I think of it as my emotional mind. For me it’s tapping into the undercurrents that we paper over in our day to day lives. I don’t think of it as a specific type of poetry/style other than my attempt to understand what I’m feeling and remember it later. Most written with little to no intent to share.
Poet Interview with Mark A. Schrader
Tell me about your writing process with regards to writing poetry, specifically.
I’m very straightforward when I write poetry. I have a goal to get to the emotional core of the idea and get it on the page. I don’t usually think much about the form or lines until I look back later. Of course a general structure forms as I write but I don’t usually think about writing different poetry styles in the initial draft (which I may not realize is a draft until reading back through).
Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.
This question is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid. I love most of the poems deeply and for different reasons as they come from different times of my life.
If I had to pick one poem now it would probably be “Whose fault is this?” The words in there aren’t complex but there is a lot of emotion packed in. I think on the surface it can appear to be a simple conversation about a lost pen, though its really more about perception and understanding of self and the world around you and your place in it and using your time and talents wisely in the choices you pursue and don’t pursue.
Whose Fault is This?
It seemed to me some sort of sign
although many see things that are mere coincidence
and perceive them as they wish for them to be
I myself, I think
have misconstrued some of my past observances
as proofs of reasoning
proofs of discovery
proofs of love
truly, one can never know
what is a sign and what is not
one will determine something
the Act of a higher power
Another will see the event as their own creation
whatever is true,
I don’t know
I only want to figure it out
One of Mark’s recent poems I particularly like–it is also a great example of enjambment:
Peace (Published in Scribe)
I find myself again, unable to
sleep. Never able to explain what
forces my mind to wander. In the past
perhaps sadness. Sometimes joy. Sometimes
loneliness. Tonight, once more, my
emotions stir. Is it tireless…is it
timelessness that echoes? I do not
wonder of places I would
rather spend my moments. I cannot think
of better alternatives. Loneliness and want
are nonexistent in this place. This
wonderful place occupied by my heart,
intertwined with the heart of one other.
Is this the one for whom I’ve searched?
Searched in my soul? Every waking moment
spent waiting/hoping for this connection. I
welcome this feeling. A feeling that is more
powerful than any before it. I once dared
fate to do its worst…It has done wonderful
things for me. I have been given love. I
have found peace.
If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?
Write for you. Write what you want to express. Read a lot. I know most writers say that but read everything. Read different styles and even try to emulate some but make sure what you are writing is yours.
What would you say to people who may not consider poetry to be “their thing?”
I would say they haven’t found the right poetry yet. They haven’t found someone that speaks to them and shares their perspective. I may also ask if they listen to music. I know the audio component changes the medium but most music is related to poetry.
One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?
Poetry is a part of the whole. My life, my experiences, my emotions make up the whole and poetry and writing help fill in the empty spaces and makes me feel more solid.
Thank you for reading about this featured poet. I invite you to include poetry in your reading and give this genre a chance to enrich your life. I will be featuring poets on my blog (Author Website), in my newsletter (Author Newsletter), and on my Medium platform (Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry). I welcome you to read about these poets, support them, and perhaps find a poet that brings something very meaningful to your life.