National award-nominated Andrew Hubbard believes his newest book of poetry is his best work from the last three years.
“The Divining Rod,” published by Interactive Press, is Hubbard’s second book of poetry. His first, “Things That Get You” was published in 2014 and a poem out of it, “Revelation,” was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize earlier this year.
“You know, some people sell cars, some people grow corn, some people can salmon and I write poems. It’s more than what I do, it’s who I am,” Hubbard said.
Writing poetry is his day job now. He quit a corporate job three years ago.
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“Since then I have devoted myself to the probably impossible task of creating a successful career as a poet. I will not stop as long as there is breath in my body,” he said.
Q: How does this book differ, if any, from your previous works?
A: Well, a casual reader would look at this book in comparison to my prior work and say, “more of the same.” But I think if you do something passionately for decades, you simply get better at it. To me, these are my best poems to date, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Q: What are your connections to Brown County?
A: My family and I lived in Carmel from 1994 to 2004. We used to take “mini-vacations” to Brown County and always had it in the back of our minds that we might come back. When I quit my job in Houston in 2013, it turned from a possibility to a certainty. I said to my wife, “In the immortal words of Gregory Peck, ‘There’s nothing left to do but get it done.'”
Q: What’s your writing ritual?
A: I wish my writing process was more romantic, but it’s a matter of coercion and strict discipline. I say to myself, “Hubbard, you haven’t written anything for almost a week. You will sit down in that chair, you will Duct tape yourself to it, and you will not get up until you have written a poem.” Hubbard says, “Sir. Yes sir. I will sir.” Then I sit down and pick up a pen. Sometimes something comes out, sometimes it doesn’t. But I always give it my very best.
Q: What’s the last book you read? Do you have a favorite?
A: I am usually reading two or three books at a time, plus I try to read about 200 pages a month of contemporary poetry and 200 pages a month of classic poetry. For my all-time favorite books, the first ones that pop into my head are “The Sea Wolf,” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” “Walden” and “Cross Creek.” When I read any of Shakespeare’s best known plays, I just sit there whispering, “Awesome. Awesome.”
Q: Where can people buy this book, and for how much?
A: Both my poetry books are available from Amazon, from my publisher, Interactive Press, or from me directly. My prior book is also available at the Abe Martin Lodge gift shop — and I’d like to be their best-selling author. I’m going to approach them soon about stocking the new book.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say that I haven’t asked?
A: I will read for free at any area school, library or civic organization. What I want more than anything is to get my work in front of a million people. You can contact me at my email address, email@example.com.
Local poet and author Andrew Hubbard will be the closing act on the Spoken Word Stage during the 4th Street Festival of Arts and Crafts in Bloomington. He’ll perform at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4.
This is his second year performing during the festival.