MARCIA S. IVANS is a poet and an active member of Women Who Write. In addition to publishing two poetry collections, she has an online presence linked through womenwhowrite.org. Marcia’s life has taught her that there is happiness beyond any negative times. Like a “yellow forsythia lying dormant for too long…she brings light from darkness…growing and alive again.”
Your Poetry & Pastries program is now beginning its tenth year. How did you come up with the idea? What was your goal and have you achieved it?
Having coffee with a poet friend in Chatham’s Café Beethoven, we both observed that this would be a lovely place to hold readings. I presented the idea to Andrew Copp of Café Beethoven, and so it began. I started with five women that first night. Now, our regular bimonthly meetings average 20-35 participants per night: women and men; beginners and long timers; readers and listeners. I wanted to give poets a warm, non-threatening space to read their work, with only positive feedback. Poets can sell their books or put out flyers for upcoming events. The $10 fee covers unlimited coffee, tea, delicious pastries and wonderful poetry.
When and why did you start writing creatively?
Thirty years ago I wrote a brief poem to a friend, and she pushed me to keep writing. I found that the process helped me to get out many hidden feelings. It was as if my thoughts were imprisoned in a balloon on top of my head, and the pen was a pinprick that helped to release them.
Do you have a main theme?
The theme that seems to be a mainstay is that despite adversities there is always a brighter tomorrow. In my two books, I share the sad events in my life, but end on the positive; even formatting the poem titles in my book Over Easy upwards, indicating the positive.
Please tell us about your publications.
My first publication grew out of the poem I wrote for my friend. Once I had collected a few, I stapled them together and sold them at a friend’s boutique. I thought that my feelings were unique, but many readers have told me that I have helped them express their own feelings. My growing self-confidence and the acceptance of my own unadorned writing style freed me to explore and relate more of my feelings on paper. A dozen years ago I published the first issue of Yesterday, A Collection of Thoughts, with a black-and-white cover. For the 2003 reprint, I chose pastels to reflect my happier mood. Encouraged by the positive response from bookstores and public readings, in 2007 I published my second book, Over Easy, with a clear concept to make the cover bright and upbeat. My poems have appeared in Goldfinch and in many newspapers and anthologies.
What do you like about writing?
I like the freedom of allowing myself to express all feelings. The different styles depend on the tenor of my mood, but I like to keep it honest and direct.
How did you hear about Women Who Write? Why did you join and stay?
About eight years ago, a small newspaper announcement led me to join the Poet’s Corner group started by Maureen Lanagan Haggerty. I enjoyed the diversity of members and the camaraderie, and found their supportive critiques to be so helpful. I soon became active and served on the Board for seven years as secretary, membership director and currently as the liaison to WWW’s webmaster.
What are you plans for the future?
I am working on a poetry chapbook and I’d like to write a memoir. I’m also in discussion with Bobby’s News & Gifts in Boonton to do open readings, hoping to bring poetry to an expanded area.
Would you like to convey anything else to our writing community?
Enjoy your writing, find and believe in your own style, and feel free enough to share your words.
By: Mira Peck