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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Willis

'Author Spotlight' - Poet Winston Derden

Every now and then we shine the spotlight on some of the authors who really float our boat. Poet Winston Derden is one of those; you'll be sure to see his name pop up across our blog, in features etc. Not only that he's a thoroughly good egg and always has a positive word or some encouragement to throw in our direction! : ). Here's a quick Q&A and three poems to enjoy...

Winston Derden is a poet and fiction writer residing in Houston, Texas. His poetry is published in Barbaric Yawp, Soft Cartel, Plum Tree Tavern, Backchannels, New Reader Magazine, MONO (and X), Book of Matches, and numerous anthologies. He holds a BA and an MA from the University of Texas, Austin.


Describe yourself in one sentence

I’m a seldom-asked-question guy in an FAQ world!

How did you learn that language had power?

I grew up in a military family — always moving. I discovered that the kids at each new school could accept having not seen you before, but immediately recognized if you spoke with an unfamiliar accent. I learned to listen until I could imitate the local speech and thus fit in.

Where do you find most of your inspiration?

I think more in terms of motivation than inspiration. My motivations largely come from interacting with the world around me, nature, politics, social conditions, relations with other people.

What’s the last book you read?

Colette Retreat from Love

If you could spend the afternoon with any poet living or dead who would you choose?

Hard choice. Early on, I would have said Charles Bukowski. Now, probably Denise Levertov or Frederick Seidel.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything what would it be?

Be patient with yourself, trust your impulse to create and improve, don’t let fallow periods make you despondent, use them to reload through reading and listening to music. You’re a writer. That isn’t going away.