Sunday, January 8, 2012

Author Insides - Craig Steele

Craig W. Steele is a writer and university biologist whose musings occur in the urban countryside of northwestern Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife, their two children and one rubbish cat. He writes poetry and stories for both children and adults, and teaches environmental biology at Edinboro University. His haiku and senryu have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Modern Haiku, a handful of stones, Asahi Haikuist Network, Three Line Poetry, Prune Juice, Magnapoets, Grey Sparrow Journal, Haiku Pix Review and elsewhere.

His haiku were also published in the Autumn 2011 issue of The Battered Suitcase


Craig, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

In my seventh-grade English class, when we had a short-story writing contest. We had to read our stories aloud and I found that sharing my imagination with others was a huge thrill.

Why do you write? 

Because I can’t not write; the ideas and words gamboling around my mind have to get out or I’d go crazy.

Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be?

Difficult to answer. I really had no firm expectations going in. I have found that, in today’s crowded, competitive market, it’s more difficult to break through to publication than I had thought it would be.

What do you think makes a good story? 

Realistic, even if the story’s a fantasy.

What's your favorite genre to read? 

Science fiction, especially military science fiction.

Who is your favorite author or poet? 

Tough question, I like so many. Among authors, I’d say David Weber, Jim Butcher and J.D. Robb. For the “older generation” of poets, Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson; among contemporary poets, Jennifer Reeser and Kim Addonizio. And my favorite haikuists are Helen Buckingham and Bob Lucky.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer? 

Jennifer Reeser’s poetry books, Winterproof and An Alabaster Flask.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration? 

I find inspiration through my family, everyday experiences and nature. For the most part, my poetry deals with: the effects of the past on the present; the effects of the present on the perception of the past; our everyday interaction with nature; my family; and whatever peculiar, interesting, overlooked or neglected oddities I feel deserve notice.

What does your family think of your writing? 

They’re supportive and are always pleased for me whenever I get an acceptance, however, none of them like haiku, or tanka (!!). My kids enjoy my children’s poetry, but are a bit too young for my non-children’s poetry (though my son does try and seems to like some of it). My wife is a visual artist and has little interest in “word art.”

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

Highly variable. It depends on the demands of my day job, my family, and how cooperative my muse is being.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals? 

I’m not sure this is a quirk or a ritual, but I find I write best while relaxing in my lounge chair and writing in a spiral-bound notebook.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Revision!

What are your current projects? 

My children’s poetry critique group is currently sending round a manuscript of bug poems. We had a group anthology of spooky poems published last year by Marshall Cavendish titled, An Eyeball in My Garden: And Other Spine-Tingling Poems, and hope to repeat that accomplishment.

What are you planning for future projects? 

I’m working on poems for two chapbook ideas, one dealing with storms (both natural and human) and the other, poems about winter.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 

Don’t ever give up. Enjoy the experience because writing for yourself really is more important than writing for publication.

Where can we find your work? 

Most recently, my haiku have appeared in Modern Haiku and the Aurorean and online at Three Line Poetry, a handful of stones, and Asahi Haikuist Network. My “regular” (non-haiku) poetry has appeared recently in The Lyric, the Aurorean and online at The Earth Comes First! and Willows Wept Review.