Mike Dockins was born in 1972 and grew up in Yonkers, New York. He holds a BS from SUNY Brockport (1999), an MFA from UMass Amherst (2002), and a Ph.D. from Georgia State (2010). His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, Quarterly West, Indiana Review, PANK, and in the 2007 edition of The Best American Poetry. His critically acclaimed first book, Slouching in the Path of a Comet (Sage Hill Press, 2007) is anticipating a third print run. Mike’s also a singer-songwriter. Fame For Zoe, the latest full-length album from his acoustic-pop duo Clop, is available on iTunes.
Interviewed by Christopher Linforth
So, why poetry?
Clichéd as it may be, what most directly inspired me to want to be a writer was Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which I read when I was 20. At first, of course, I imitated, and wound up with a pile of useless prose warblings. About five years later, I started really appreciating poetry, thanks to en exposure to Pablo Neruda and also the contemporary poet Gary Soto. Both gave me a sense of the importance of concrete imagery, and of metaphor. But I also tried to keep alive the vivacity of language (even just generally speaking) from Kerouac. At 25 I wrote what I consider to be my first “good” poem, and what was more remarkable (to me) than the poem itself was a brand-new instinct that told me that it was good. After that, I was hooked. Continue reading