Poet Kathleen Lujan has carried her passion for the written word with her from childhood. It was where she focused her education and career trajectory.
Lujan has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and History, a Master’s Degree in American Studies (Southwest History and Literature) from NMHU, where she taught for four years. She also taught for 10 years at West Texas A&M University, where she received a Teaching Excellence Award in 1998-1990.
Lujan developed a writing and reading process called the ARQ (Active Reading Quest), which she presented at a seminar at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and presented to teachers during two-day seminars in New Mexico. She taught Language Arts at Coronado High School for two years and then five years at Lybrook School as the project coordinator for literacy for Alaskan and Native American children.
She is an awarding-winning educator who has conducted studies and seminars in India, England, Scotland and Italy, and served as adjunct faculty for Navajo Technical University to teach AP composition class at Alamo Community. She has always made time for writing with a focus on poetry. Her recently release chap book of poetry, Puddles of Years, is available from the author. Email her at email@example.com for details.
Lujan will be the featured writer at a Zoom Las Vegas Literary Salon event on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 4 p.m. The Zoom link for the event is here.
Q: What writers did you enjoy reading as a child?
Lujan: My father taught me to read at the age of five and I developed a passion for reading. I loved Greek and Roman Mythology. I had two red, cloth-bound books of mythology, which were at least five pounds apiece, and read them from front to back. I loved Homer, Hawthorne, Austen, Bronte, du Maurier, Dickinson, Keene… among so many others. I was a voracious reader. Even today, I usually have three novels going at the same time.
Q: Did you write as a child?
Lujan: I started writing poetry when I was about 12. I loved the rhythm and sounds of words and saying so much with so little.
Q: How did you get started as a poet?
Lujan: At age 12, because of Emily Dickinson and her lyric poem: Success.
Q: Do you find writing easy?
Lujan: The only time writing is easy is to be totally in the present moment and letting the words come; not forcing the words to appear. And that’s not easy!
Q: How did you manage to fit writing in with other demands on your time? Are you good at managing your time?
Lujan: Teaching, consulting, and traveling consumed large portions of my time, but I would always carry paper and a pen or find a napkin if a line or idea hit me in a restaurant, at a seminar, or during a class. I had pieces of candy bar wrappers and cocktail napkins that would have my scratches on them. I would empty out my purse on a Sunday, usually, and write poems from the lines I had scribbled down.
Q: Who are your favorite living poets?
Lujan: My absolute favorite poem is on my refrigerator door held up by a portrait magnet of Frida Kahlo. The Everlasting Self, by Tracy K. Smith. You can find it on poets.org.
Q: How do you prepare yourself for writing?
Lujan: P.P.P. (Prior Proper Planning). I never know when an emotion or a tanager or a kiss will inspire a poem, so trying to always have pen, paper, or now, a phone, to jot down the initial true thought or feeling is essential.
Q: What do well-written poems have in common?
Lujan: I can only speak for myself and what calls me to read and reread what I believe is a well written poem. The “show me don’t tell me” aspect, a rhythm, which matches the image, idea, or emotion being expressed, and a required quiet to read and reread slowly to savor the words.
Q: Talk about your recently published chap book of poetry, Puddles of Years.
Lujan: Puddles of Years is a compilation of poems which have been previously published and written over a twenty-year period. My sister kept after me to publish, and after my sister died last September, I was encouraged to retire and do what she asked me to do: finish the chapbook. I also received, from my brother, a folder kept by my father of all the poems I had written since I was twelve. No one in the family knew about the folder, myself included, until Dad died. When my brother went through his desk, he found it. He sent it to me and encouraged me to keep writing and complete the chapbook. Thus, the dedication to my Dad. I suggest the reader read the poems, enjoy, and take with you the sublime experience of poetry!
Zoom in for the Las Vegas Literary Salon interview with Kathleen Lujan, with Patti Romero as host.
Sharon Vander Meer is an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow her at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. Please like, share, or comment – or all three!