Sunday, February 1, 2009

Another Visit with Harry Gilleland

I posted a review of Harry Gilleland's book, Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man, earlier, so I won't review the book again except to say I really liked it.

Wednesday February 4, we'll discuss the difficulty in trying to write a novel, as Harry talks about how hard it is, and at times discouraging.

Of course Harry is known for his poetry and storeoms, and for good reason. He's a great poet. However, as with any author, he would love to see his book sell. Every book needs a good home, and his book is a good one to have in any home.

Today I'm going to swipe parts of an interview between Harry and Norm Goldman, Publisher and Editor of Mr. Goldman's name is a link to the complete interview.

It is sometimes said that people in times of need turn to poetry. Is this true, and if so, why?

I believe this is probably true. It is because in time of need people want comforting and to get in touch with their emotions. Poetry is capable of offering insight into situations from a point of view that the person had not considered previously. It makes them focus, examine their emotions, and think about what is important in their lives. Reading poetry can also be soothing and relaxing. It can take their mind off their problems for a while. Poetry has much to offer to its readers.

Would you say you get clarity about a subject from writing a poem about it? If so, please elaborate.

Definitely so! If I don't have a clear idea about the subject of my poem, then how could I convey to the reader the exact meaning I intended him/her to get from reading it? In writing a poem, I mull it over in my mind for several days before actually writing it down. I analyze what my feelings and thoughts on the subject are and what message I hope to convey. Writing a poem about a subject makes me crystallize my own beliefs and feelings regarding that issue.

How would you define a good poem?

A good poem is one that connects with its readers. Regardless of the form – rhyming or free verse, short or long, etc.—any poem that touches the mind and emotions of the readers so that they take away something from the poem is a good poem. A good poem will linger in the readers' minds and makes them consider their own feelings and beliefs anew.

(The final question and answer I'll use from that interview concerns a subject near to my heart, the correct use of language.)

How do you feel as to the way language and words are used today?

It is terrible how language and words are mistreated in today's society. In medical school we had to dumb down test questions because some medical students had never heard commonplace words, and remember these are the supposedly the best and brightest of college graduates.

Spelling and grammar seem to be a lost art among today's students and young workers. I am appalled at the poor quality of writing one encounters on the Internet. Today's young people seem to think they have no need to be able to speak and write well and correctly. After all, doesn't the computer have a spell-check and grammar-check?
Should I correct my own grown children when they mangle some word usage, they simply shrug and say, "Whatever!" Such is the sorry state of language, grammar, and spelling in the modern high-tech world.

(That last answer is why I want Harry for an editor for 4RV Publishing.)



Joyce Anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyce Anthony said...

I have to agree on the language issue. I'm one of those people that has to speak up and make corrections--in both speaking and writing. Good questions and even better answers :-)

elysabeth said...

I learned something new - I didn't know what a storeom was. Thanks for posting more insight into Harry. - E :)

Harry Gilleland said...

Greetings, Vivian ~

Thank you for hosting me this week. You did a nice job with your post.

I'll drop in occasionally to see if there are any questions/comments that need an answer.

Thanks again!


Vivian Zabel said...

An interesting person makes it easier to have a good blog post, Harry. On Wednesday, I plan on sharing your thoughts about the struggle to write that fantasy novel.

A question, what do you want to accomplish with your novel if you can finish it?

Helen Ginger said...

I would agree on the spelling and grammar - those standards have lowered. I don't so much agree with language. Words and language change with each generation and new waves of technology. The slang that was popular when I was a kid is old now and out of usage, except by old folks like me. And today's slang will slide away in a few years.

Helen Ginger

Harry Gilleland said...

Hi again, Vivian ~

To answer your question, I want to write a novel that is well-received by readers and reviewers alike and that sells hundreds of copies. It would be nice if it became a best-seller and then a movie -- every author dream -- but that isn't realistic. I want to grow as a writer by writing in this genre. I have published three poetry books, a fantasy novella, and a contemporary romance to date. I'd like to add an adventure novel to my accomplishments to improve my prose writing. Mainly, I want to write a darned good book!

kathy stemke said...

I've read Harry's latest poetry book and truly enjoyed it. He has a wonderful command of the english language. I'm looking forward to his books to come. Follow your dreams, Harry!!

kathy stemke said...

I've read Harry's latest poetry book and truly enjoyed it. He has a wonderful command of the english language. I'm looking forward to his books to come. Follow your dreams, Harry!!

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Hi, Harry and Vivian,

I agree with the mess the young have made of the engish language. My daughter is a fourth grade teacher and one of the sayings she absolutely hates is "my bad." And, her students use it all the time.


Margaret Fieland said...

Harry, I'm behind you 100% on the language and grammar issue. I'm shocked by some of the mistakes I see in my local paper.

When I was a kid, my father drummed correct grammar into our heads. Any mistake was not only corrected, he insisted on repeating the rule and its explanation as well. At the time I thought it was a waste of time -- now I'm very grateful he did it.

Margaret Fieland

Jean Henry Mead said...

Harry, your poetry is lovely. And I have to agree with you about the dumbing down of America. In fact I recently wrote a blog article about it. It's worse than a shame!

Vivian Zabel said...

Thanks for visiting with us, Harry. We'll be back on Wednesday to discuss what you hope and want to do with a novel.