As we continue with celebrating National Poetry Month, we briefly interviewed professor Brenda Coultas from Touro’s NYSCAS to tell us a bit about herself as a poet. Professor Coultas is the author of The Tatters, a collection of poetry, recently published by Wesleyan University Press. Other books include The Marvelous Bones of Time (2008) and A Handmade Museum (2003) from Coffee House Press. Her poetry can be found in The Brooklyn Rail, Witness and the Denver Quarterly. she is a mentor in the Emerge-Surface-Be program sponsored by The Poetry Project and The Jerome Foundation. Click here to see more of her literary publications.
What prompted you to write poetry?
I fell in love with reading in the first grade and couldn’t stop. Reading gives me great pleasure: novels, poems, short stories, and plays. I read everything even advertising and graffiti. So falling in love lead to the desire to write what I would want to read.
In what form/style do you compose your poems?
I began as a fiction writer but fell under the influence of poets, so my writing is cross-genre; a hybrid of prose and poetry.
What is the role of poetry in your teaching? or how do you think poetry has an impact on students and their learning?
I am interested in the possibility of poetry for locating oneself in time and space, as an inquiry into the natural world, and as a critique of human-made systems. The classroom is a laboratory in which to experiment with prose and poetry: To try out shapes and test beliefs, to create writing structures, to discover or refine—in a supportive environment—the shape and sound of visions and voices. The students’ generating processes might involve looking at an object or event and connecting the hidden strings or the patterns within. I guide my students with prompts and approaches to circle the subject of their gaze again and again from diverse perspectives.
Contributed by Brenda Coultas, professor of Languages and Literature at the New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) at Touro College.