Interview with Whale Sound poet – Sherry O’Keefe

(An occasional series, with a new standing page on Whale Sound. If you’re a Whale Sound poet and would like to participate, please email me your responses to the questions below at nic_sebastian at hotmail dot com.)

1. Please comment on the following:
a. The experience of hearing your poem on Whale Sound (WS):
Hearing At Ruby’s Diner read aloud by you shed new light on my poem. I could hear the poem in my head, but hearing it in your voice gave me new ideas for future poems. Having my poem shared in this way on Whale Sound gave my poem new “shelf life”. It had been published in a wonderful print journal out of Chicago, Fifth Wednesday Journal. Anyone who purchased the issue will have this poem available anytime they want to read it. Let me say, I love the world of print. My house is filled with shelves and stacks of books. I don’t want that to go away. But I also don’t want my poem to go away, either. Thanks to Whale Sound, this poem has been heard over and over again. Whale Sound has given it a new audience. I’ve appreciated the exposure Whale Sound has given this poem. (Big Thanks!)

b. The WS decision to focus only on web-active poets: I applaud this decision! As many books and journals of poetry I have stacked at home, poetry on the web is more accessible. When I come across a poem or journal that excites me, I can immediately click on more links to either more journals or poems, or to blogs that can lead me to more poems and more journals. It never ends. If WS features a poem I can only find in hard copy somewhere, chances are the same journey which happens with a web-poem may end before it has a chance to begin. Poetry sparks and begats other sparks. The web is a wonderful tool to enable all that begatting (so to speak!)

c. The WS third-party submissions policy: I have a hard time mixing po-business with writing poetry. Having a third party suggest my work to WS lets me keep my focus on writing poetry. This move towards third-party submission rocks!

2. What does WS do well? Your love of poetry is infectious. WS offers work I might not have considered before and your reading of each poem almost always presents a new POV for me to consider. WS helps the world of poetry expand rather than shrink. I like receiving emails each time a new poem is up. I appreciate the links provided in the bios and archives that lead me to each poet’s website or blog. In this way, the poem leads to a poet, a journal, a website, a blog. Endless possibilities.

3. What could WS do better? I bet the day will come when I’ll be able to purchase a collection of WS’s recordings (!)

(Editor’s note: Whale Sound is available as a downloadable iTunes podcast (subscribe) – you can burn your own CD for free using iTunes.)

4. Anything else you’d like to say about the WS experience? As the poetry world debates the merits of print versus on-line – Whale Sound reminds us poetry is based on sound. (As poetry editor for Soundzine, an on-line journal dedicated to the spoken word, I especially appreciate this.) Listening to the poems at WS helps me appreciate more poetry, and helps me as I reconsider the many poems of my own sitting on the backburner.

Sherry’s poem on Whale Sound: At Ruby’s Diner
About Sherry O’Keefe.

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

2 thoughts on “Interview with Whale Sound poet – Sherry O’Keefe”

  1. I was very glad to hear “At Ruby’s Diner” on Whale Sound. I have Fifth Wednesday, but not the issue Sherry’s in!

    I love that poets can submit their own work or the work of another. I hope that makes the permission/contact info/links part easier for you. You are doing so much, it’s great if we can help out.

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