Alexander Kolb was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. He is currently a daydreaming commuter living outside of Washington, D.C.
We are excited to have three of Alex’s poems, ‘On the floor’, ‘Interviewing Brian May’ and ‘Digging in the yard’, in Issue 4 of Confluence.
Tell us about your writing background…
I went to a high school for the arts where my focus was cello but where I ended up taking a few creative writing classes (none focused on poetry). While I was there, I met my wife. She loved poetry, wrote it beautifully, and I badly wanted to love what she loved. I attempted to read what seemed most meaningful, but without direction, poetry seemed like a form I had to slowly decode – dense and intimidating; it felt like something I had to cautiously wade through. I starting writing poems around that time mostly as a way to impress anyone I could convince to read them. A beloved history teacher read an early poem of mine and said only “That boy’s confused.” However, I kept writing poems after high school – sometimes showing them to my girlfriend through when she became my fiance, then wife -and when my Senior year arrived after a longer-than-average journey through college, I decided to take two poetry workshops. The encouragement I got from the two professors who taught those courses, and in large part from my friend and former teacher Tara Moyle, pushed me to finally submit poems for publication.
Why do you write?
I’m forgetful. Seriously. And I don’t otherwise take time to consider everything that might be going on with me and the people and things I care most about. Writing’s a way to remember and consider.
Advice for people wanting to start?
Need to start writing.
Do you think about the audience when you write? Are you more a 'page poet'?
The page, I guess. And I’m really just trying to impress my wife, whom I respect as a writer above anyone else.
What writers do you admire?
Norman Dubie, Claudia Emerson, Jorie Graham, Marie Howe, Yusef Komunyakaa, Li-Young Lee, Larry Levis.
And do you have a favourite?
Ocean Vuong. (He’s probably everyone’s, or should be.)
What I love about writing poetry over other forms is what I love about playing cello over piano: it’s a single thread and deceptively simple, but the impact of each sound or turn of phrase can be endlessly meaningful if it’s carefully written and carefully heard.
What was the first thing that you remember writing?
It was an homage to ‘The Tyger’ that incorporated a lot of my fixations at the time: infinity, space, Greek mythology. Very epic; very dense; a lot of words I likely found in a thesaurus.
Cats or dogs?
Both. I also love heavy rain.