JonArno Lawson tomorrow

rubberman

Last month I read with pleasure the poems and interviews posted on the sites of Tricia Stohr-Hunt and Greg Pincus. Some of the poets I know and others were new to me. Now I have a list of those I would like to read and learn more about.

One of those poets is tomorrow’s guest, JonArno Lawson. JonArno was kind enough to agree to be my guest this week so you’ll meet him tomorrow. To help me become better acquainted with him, I asked questions and have posted our Q/A bio session here.

JonArno Lawson

Q
When, where, how, and why did you go about becoming a published author/poet?
A
I was first published by Exile Editions in 1997 – my first book (a compilation of poetry and aphorisms) was called “Love is an Observant Traveler”
Q
How many times did you fail before you succeeded?
A
I’m still failing every day! I was lucky in terms of my first publication though – I made a chap book just for fun, and sent a copy to an author I liked (Timothy Findley) and he liked it, so he sent it to Exile Editions, and they called me and asked if I had a manuscript they could look at. A real Cinderella story. But it’s gotten harder from there – I’ve had many manuscripts rejected since.
Q
Were you always a writer or have you done other things too?
A
I do other things, but these days mostly I’m a Dad and a writer. I worked for a long time as a group home counselor in a home for Developmentally Disabled Elderly Jewish People. I also worked as a clerk in a law library. And I’ve taught now and then, mostly workshops.
Q
Do you draw inspiration from your family?
A
They’re indispensible! My kids give me all sorts of ideas, first lines, and they help me edit too.
Q
What did you study in school?
A
I studied English.
Q
Has your work received any honors?
A
Twice I’ve received The Lion and the Unicorn Award. One of my books got a Bronze Moonbeam. All were nice to get, but the best thing of all is a note from an appreciative reader.
Q
Are you a native Canadian?
A
I’m a dual Canadian/American citizen. I grew up in Canada, I live in Canada, but I’ve spent long stretches of time in the United States – in Schenectady, Annapolis, Chincoteague, and Miami.
Q
How many other books have you had published?
A
I’ve got seven books out there right now, and two more due out next year.
Q
What genre(s) do you like best?
A
Anything well-written, whatever the genre. I love to be surprised by someone’s point of view. I’ve read a lot of travel books over the past year – “The Danube” by Claudio Magris is a very surprising book. “The Baby in the Mirror” by Charles Fernyhough, who’s a Dad and a child psychologist, was very surprising. Marilyn Singer’s “Mirror Mirror” really surprised me too. . .
Q
Do you have other books in the works that you can discuss?
A
I’m working on a number of things – which helps me a lot, because then I never feel stuck – but I’m not sure which are developing well and which aren’t, and I don’t want to jinx any of them. . .

As you can see from this exchange, JonArno is a straight shooter who answers candidly and shares the same dreams and frustrations that most writers face. You will enjoy his essay tomorrow so don’t forget to come by.

David