Five questions for Marisa Beahm Klein
December 3, 2009
Marisa Beahm Klein has been writing poetry since elementary school when she released her first book of ‘pomes.’ Since then, she’s improved her spelling and has continued to explore the medium, tackling themes such as religion and travel through imagist pieces. Marisa grew up in Colorado and attended the University of Colorado-Boulder where she hosted weekly open-mics and competed for her school’s slam poetry team. After she earned a degree in journalism and cut her teeth as a daily news reporter, she moved to Budapest with her husband and continues to work as a journalist. Marisa will be reading selected poems her recently-published poetry collection, Opened Aperture.
1. What was your first (poem / piece of writing), and how bad was it?
“It was a poem written for an elementary school exercise, and it was pretty atrocious. Of course it contained the most rudimentary rhymes – ‘there was a dog named bog that got lost in the fog …’ – that only a Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein could pull off with any grace. But, given that I composed it at the age of eight, I give myself some credit.”
2. What’s the last thing you read that made your hair stand up on end?
“‘What Big Girls Are Made Of’ by Marge Piercy. This whole poetry collection evokes modern feminism in a startlingly brave, sharp way. She can tackle any subject – from sexual harassment and religion to a simple butterfly – in an accessible way that’s both poignant and wry. I am totally smitten with her.”
3. What’s the last piece of literature that made you cry?
“Technically, it wasn’t literature since it’s a spoken-word poem, but it was Andrea Gibson’s ‘Say Yes.’ This Colorado poet is one of the most talented performers I’ve ever seen live, and this is a hugely passionate poem – it provokes the inspired-with-goose bumps kind of tears.”
4. What’s the worst thing about writing a book?
“Knowing when it’s finished. I could edit my writing forever, so I have to call a moratorium on tweaking and finally call it a day.”
5. Does poetry matter anymore?
“Since I am not a nihilist, I have to say yes. Does any writer say no to this?”