Sheila Peters lives in Driftwood Canyon near Smithers in northwestern BC where she spends a lot of time looking out the window at the changing landscape: falling leaves, snow, bare branches, chickadees, cottonwood buds, bears, yellow warblers, dandelions, and willows. She thinks and writes about social justice and environmental issues, snowshoes as high into the mountains as she can get in the winter and takes her kayak, Mango Chutney, for rides in the summer. She writes poetry, fiction and journalism and, with her husband, runs Creekstone Press.
“bushed” is featured in Peters’ latest book, the weather from the west, published by Creekstone Press.
Questions & Answers
Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?
Not really. I wrote poems on and off for many years until I realized that the feeling writing poems creates—the intense focus, the pleasure in finding the right form and the right words and the right sounds—is a feeling I don’t want to live without.
How/where do you find inspiration today?
Two kinds of experiences turn me to poetry: a vivid powerful image or event that asks for exploration or an unusual juxtapostion of ideas or events that offers and new understanding.
What is your writing process?
I usually begin with an unfettered sort of blathering around an idea or image with the hope that a door will open into a clear and focused place; when that happens, I work as hard and fast as I can while the feeling lasts.
What is your revision/editing process?
Cut, shift, rearrange, expand, read out loud, dither.
Did you write poetry in high school? If yes, how did you get started? If no, why not?
Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. websites, text books, etc.)?
Ted Hughes’ book Poetry in the Making is a fabulous resource for young writers (and old ones).