In Memoriam: Anne Tews Schwab

Two years ago I did an interview with one of my former classmates and writer friend, Anne Tews Schwab. Yesterday I found out she passed away unexpectedly. Normally, I would review a book today, but in honor of Anne, I am reposting her interview here and mourning the loss of a wonderful person and a great talent. I will miss her daily pirate poems. She had so many wonderful stories inside her.

Do you recall how your interest in writing as a academic pursuit and career originated?
  •      I think it all started right after I learned how to write my name ... I was so proud of my new skill,  and so eager to share it with the world, that I grabbed a good friend and a pair of red crayons, and my co-author and I went on a writing spree. We wrote and wrote and wrote, covering the outside walls of our houses, our trash cans and our white picket fence. It was my first experience in self publishing and it was thrilling and exhilarating - until my mother discovered our work and handed us a bucket and scrub brush and instructed us to wash it all off. And that was how I first discovered the joy and pain of editing. 

What draws you to children’s books specifically?
  •      The tight truths delivered in straightforward narratives, the subtext available for deep readers to discover, the inquisitive minds of young characters determined to unravel the mysteries of the world as they come of age in times of trouble, war and/or peace.

How do you birth a poem and how does it grow into something like a book?
  •      I think a poem grows the same way a story does - it all starts with a seedling, an acorn, a random thought, observation, question, revelation, and from there it gathers energy and power, growing in scope and size, gathering companions and forming alliances with other poetic ideas and forms until the group assembles and organizes into something resembling a narrative.

What is your favorite poem in Capsized?
  •      Probably the diamantĂ© (Black Diamond) about a grand piano. This was such fun to write while working out the puzzle of how to best fit the piano imagery into this distinctive and elegant poetic form!

What is the most challenging part of writing for you?
  •      Feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day to write all the stories roaming around in my head!

What have you learned about writing that you didn’t know 5 years ago?
  •      I think my favorite thing that I've heard over and over and have finally taken to heart as gospel truth is the simple idea of: Write, write, write! In other words, in order to succeed, first you must complete!

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
  •      I'm working on a draft of an epic novel about pirates and mermaids with a bit of global warming thrown into the mix :) And if I could solve the more hours in the day conundrum, I might finally get it polished!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

You write a pirate poems that you post on Facebook, where did the idea of a pirate poem a day come from and is it difficult to maintain?
  •      I was inspired to write daily poems after a workshopping session at Hamline (where I received my MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults). We tried a new poetic form every day to begin the session, and after that I was hooked!

Can you describe one of your writing fantasies? Does it include a best-seller, a corrugated display, book tours, school visits? Oprah?
  •      Well, if I'm dreaming big, then I'd say: my pirate adventure published as a middle grade series that ends up getting picked up by Steven Spielberg and made into a movie. 

One last very important question: Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?
  •      I've had many dreams (nightmares?) where this has happened but I can't recall it ever happening in real life... But there's always tomorrow!