An Interview with Frances Koziar

Frances Koziar has published poetry in over 40 different literary magazines, including Vallum, Acta Victoriana, and Dreamers Magazine. She is a young (disabled) retiree and a social justice advocate, and she lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 

You can read her poem Christmas Dinner in the January 2023 issue of Pinhole Poetry.

Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your poem? For instance, how or why you wrote it, or perhaps provide some extra context?

I celebrate Christmas largely on my own after cutting off ties with family, and this poem is about one of the beautiful traditions I’ve made for myself, which is to go for a walk on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day while everyone else is having their holiday dinners (and after I’ve had mine), and just walk through the night looking at Christmas lights. It’s a very beautiful time, and it’s like you have the world to yourself because no one is outside then, and you can walk by people’s warmly lit windows and see all these tableaux of different families having dinner.

Why was the poetic form the best fit for this particular piece of work?

I was thinking the line breaks were like falling snow, and helped convey the atmosphere of a magical moment apart from ordinary life.

How or where or with what does a poem begin?

Generally, with a mood or feeling I want to express through writing, be that love or depression or loss. If it’s a smallish idea or just a single feeling, then it’ll usually come out as microfiction or a poem rather than a longer form of prose.

Are there other art forms that inspire or inform your poetry?

Recently I’ve been enjoying writing at the intersection between poetry and fiction. Not “prose poetry”, but writing fiction with poetry in it, or poetry that has a narrative inside of it. I really love when you can have fantasy world-building in a short beautiful poem, for example, which is coming from a fiction literary lineage and not a poetry one.

How do you make space for poetry in your daily routine?

I tell people that becoming a poet was an accident, because I don’t really like poetry! I love spoken word poetry, and I like my own poems, but I’m not interested in reading other poetry. Fiction is my true love, and more generally I identify with the word writer, but I just write in all forms, including nonfiction and poetry and op-eds, and have about 75 poems published now…so I suppose poetry made space for me instead. 

Do you belong to a writer’s group? If not, where do you find poetry community and feedback?

I don’t, and I don’t. When I was starting to write regularly as a teen, I found it helpful the handful of times that friends or acquaintances read and commented on my work, especially if they were familiar with my genre, because they would point out things I missed and suggest things I hadn’t considered, but these days I have a lot of experience and over 150 publications under my belt and I just don’t find the feedback of regular people or hobby writers to be helpful anymore. I do think you can have a bit of a sense of community with editors when you get work accepted, and I do find sharing my writing with my readers rewarding, so you can find some community there in a sense, but I don’t need a peer writing community. If you don’t have one, don’t let that hold you back from writing! Practice, passion, and persistence are the most important things.

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