Debbie: Rosalie, please tell us a little about yourself.
Rosalie: I was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and during my childhood lived between both lakes, Michigan and Superior. My father always told the story that my first word was water, my second sky. When my father died, I was only sixteen years old. I checked books out of the Carnegie Library in Escanaba, Michigan, where I lived at the time and started reading about how to become a writer, and my first poems were born. They were not very good, but a few years later, a group of local writers that included Elinor Benedict, the founder of Passages North, took me under her wing when I joined her writers group. Everyone in the group was kind and encouraging to me. My first significant publication was a poem in Passages North. Now, I have had poems published in journals such as the Southern Poetry Review, Seattle Review, The MacGuffin, Red Rock Review, Paintbrush, and many others. During National Poetry Month in April 2015, a broadside of my poem “New Year’s Day” appeared in the Michigan Poet, and in a subsequent anthology. I was extremely happy to receive that honor. Additionally, I have also had essays and fiction published and currently I am working on a novel whenever I can find the time to write, which is sometimes a challenge since I teach at Lansing Community College and have to grade numerous student essays.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your new book.
Rosalie: My second chapbook of poetry published with Finishing Line Press, an award winning poetry publisher based in Georgetown, Kentucky, is titled What We Keep. It was released this spring. My first chapbook, A Postcard from my Mother, was also published with Finishing Line in 2004.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Rosalie: I am working on a new chapbook of poetry, and a novel. I may have a poem accepted for an anthology of Upper Peninsula Writers to be published in 2017 by MSU Press. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Also, the writer’s group I founded in 2005, Writing at the Ledges, is working on a new collection of our work titled Promptly Speaking. The concept is based on writing prompts we have used to begin meetings for the past two years.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Rosalie: I will be launching my poetry book What We Keep at Everybody Reads Books and Stuff on Saturday, October 1, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. There will be wine, cheese, and other snacks available. So everyone should come on out!
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And a favorite Michigan library?
Rosalie: My favorite Michigan bookstore in the Lansing area is Everybody Reads Books and Stuff. It is a great little place and so welcoming to everyone and all genres of writing. Up north, my favorite bookstore is Snowbound Books in Marquette. I always try to pop in there for a visit whenever I am in the U.P. As for favorite Michigan libraries, I would have to say the Peter White Public Library in Marquette. It was built in 1904 and is an architecturally lovely building.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Rosalie: My favorite spot in Michigan is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park near Ontonagon, Michigan. I served in 2008 and 2014 as Artist-in-Residence in the “Porkies,” as the locals affectionately calls them.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Rosalie: My favorite Michigan festival is the Island Art Fair in Grand ledge. Writing at the Ledges always has a booth and we sell our books at it.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Rosalie: I know many great Michigan writers and poets-one of my all-time favorite people is poet Judith Minty. I met Judith at the Bay de Noc Writer’s Conference in Escanaba in the 80’s and she reviewed some of my poems and was very positive about them. It gave me the courage to keep writing. Other favorite Michigan Poets and writers are Jack Driscoll, Michael Delp, Laura Apol, Jack Ridl and I could go on and on. I have met numerous Michigan authors whose work I admire and have a bookshelf full of signed books that I treasure.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Rosalie: The Grand River is the longest river in the state of Michigan. I actually did not know that until I moved to Grand Ledge.
Debbie: Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?
Rosalie: I am a Michigander, for sure. :)
Debbie: Rosalie, we'll add you to the Michigander column. Thank you for joining us today for Michigander Monday!