Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview With Harry Gilleland

Welcome to OnWords Blog, Harry. Here are some questions for you: Q. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up and did you do it? A. As a kid, I was always interested in nature and animals. I loved the woods and collecting bugs, catching tadpoles to watch them turn into frogs, turning over rocks to see what crawled out. I was a biologist at heart and wanted to be one when I grew up. At the University of Georgia, I discovered microbiology and fell in love with biology on a micro scale.I became a microbiologist and had a career as a teacher of microbiology to medical students and graduate students at LSUHSC, School of Medicine for 29 years before retiring. As a Microbiology Dept. faculty member, I conducted scientific research into a bacterial vaccine and published papers, wrote grant applications, presented my data at conferences. I accomplished my childhood career dreams fully. Q. How do you define your writing, A. I see myself primarily as a poet whose storoems and poems address everyday topics in a way that speaks to the common man, people that don't normally read or like poetry. You don't need a M.F.A. to understand and enjoy my poetry. Yet some of my poems address profound subjects. I'd call my writings thought-provoking and engaging. Q. You told me storoems are story poems. Can you please explain why you write? A. Writing is pure pleasure to me. Using words well so that I deliver my message precisely as intended gives me such a feeling of satisfaction on those occasions when I feel I have accomplished this. I have so much I want to say that I have to write. It fulfills a need deep inside me. Plus, I want to leave behind something to represent who I was for posterity. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to know what sort of man I was once they reach adulthood. Even if I am dead by then, my writing will be their window into my mind. Q. Why do you write poetry instead of prose? A. I started writing poetry late in my life and career in 2001. I had written scientific prose for years by then. Scientific writing is quite formal and strictly objective - just the facts, please. One day while brown bagging it at my desk for lunch, I was using the Internet and a pop-up ad appeared. It read, "Write a poem, and win a super-duper prize." On a whim , I tried my hand at writing a poem. I found it fun and liberating. Imagine after years of strictly writing scientific prose, being able to take flights of fantasy, use humor, use emotions in my writing. I loved writing poetry immediately and have been writing it ever since. Hopefully, I've gotten much better at writing poetry over the years. However, I do write prose occasionally. In fact, after writing only poetry for several years, a friend of mine challenged me to write a prose story. It turned into a YA-Adult novella, published as Bob the Dragon Slayer. Since then I have written a second prose novel, entitled White Lightning Road. I was trying my hand at contemporary romance with that book. Nowdays, I scatter some prose writing into my primarily being a poet. It sounds like you're doing well. Thank you so much for sharing with our readers today. (I'll post more information about our guest, Harry Gilleland, in a few days.)


Vivian Zabel said...

I've been reading Harry's poetry and storoems for several years now, and they interest me still.

Thanks for sharing this interview with a special man with us, Janet.

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

Very interesting interview. A micro-biologist and poet, wow! Thanks for letting us listen in Janet.


Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Harry, wish I knew the first thing about poetry but I don't. I actually am in awe of those who can write such poetic verse.

Now, how did a micro-bioligist get interested in poetry? Now there's a story - a great fiction story- waiting to be written. GRIN