An Interview with Thomas Mixon

Thomas Mixon has poetry and fiction in Lover’s Eye PressGrim & GildedAt LengthThe Broadkill Review, and elsewhere. You can read his poem Junco in the October 2022 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? 

We’ve had a simple bird feeder in front of our house the past few years, and taking it down in spring always depresses me! I think about keeping it up, but each time, for any number of reasons (active bears, avian influenza, etc.) removing the sunflower seeds is advised, and my wife and I are, at heart, rule followers. Sometimes, it feels like taking a stand, to listen to the advice of experts (who many promptly ignore), even if I’d rather the dictum not apply to me, personally.

Do you have a collection of poetry or even a single poem that acts as a touchstone or a lodestar? 

Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (all the versions!).

How do you revise your work? 

It all depends on the piece. With poetry, I’m usually revising as I write, or before I write, coming up with lines in the dark, in my head, before sleep, rearranging them in the future, from what can be remembered. However, I worked with Jonathan Farmer from At Length on a longer poem, and those edits were more in the spirit/style of the short fiction I’ve worked on. When pushed to, I really enjoy editing; I’m working on tricking myself into pushing myself. 

What are you working on now? 

I’ve been in a poem drought lately, so short fiction, mostly, the starts of a few possible novels. There are lots of things I start, that I don’t finish. But there are also a lot of things I end, that never really got started in the first place.

How or where or with what does a poem begin? 

Realizing you are alive, and that also so is everyone else, and so too is much of what you see, around you, and all you can’t see.

What are you reading or watching or listening to lately that intrigues or inspires you? 

I just finished The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier and it blew my mind. I just now looked him up, while writing this, and didn’t realize he was part of Oulipo, which also blows my mind, and makes so much sense now. I love constraints in writing, not so much in music. My son is getting into The Beatles (I think mostly because of their name!) and I’ve been listening to a lot of Abbey Road. Comparing that to their earlier work, I’m amazed at the guitar parts, it’s like they set George Harrison free, or he freed himself, or something! Every song on that album, his contribution adds something so simultaneously integral and extra, it’s wonderful. 

Have you ever received advice (or has there been something youve learned on your own) about writing or revising poems that has made you a better poet? What was it? 

For me, and perhaps this is just a limitation I have as a writer, or reader, but I have no idea what others will take to, will like and want to publish. I’ve finished some poems and thought, this is it, this speaks so deeply to the world inside and outside of me, and is relevant to this moment but still timeless…but then no journal wants it! And I’ve written other poems that, while I’m proud of them, I don’t think are anything special, and I send them out a little sheepishly, or not expecting anything to come from it…and then they’re snatched up. I don’t get it, and maybe it’s OK I don’t. What I’m hoping for is that it makes me fully focus on whatever piece is right in front of me, and that the energy I give it, at that moment, is true, and interesting, which aren’t always (mostly?) the same thing.

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

I do and they are great (Rules Writers)! But I’ve only shared short fiction so far. This month I’m sharing a flash creative nonfiction piece after I vowed to never write any such thing. Maybe I’ll share poetry with them soon, too.

In terms of poetic style or craft, is there a big question you are trying to find an answer for?

Yes, and, for me, it’s the same question I think about outside of writing: not why are we here, on this planet, or necessarily what are we doing, but are there things we aren’t doing, things we’ve never considered before, that would change everything? And, if so, will we do them? If not, what will it take?

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: