Her “Poem”: Five Questions with Noelle Kocot

Noelle Kocot was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She now is a professor at The New School in New York City which she commutes to from New Jersey, where she resides now. She has been teaching at The New School since 2005. In her career as poet she has written seven collections of poetry. Those seven are; Phantom Pains of Madness (Published in May of 2016), Soul in Space (Published October of 2013), Poet By Default (Published in 2011), The Bigger World (Published in 2011), Damon’s Room (Published in 2010), Sunny Wednesday (Published in 2009), Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems (Published in 2006), The Raving Fortune (Published in 2004), and 4 (Published in 2001). Noelle has received many awards for her writing, including the NCTE Award, NEA grant, The Lannan Literary Fellowship, The Fund for Poetry, The Academy of American Poets, The American Poetry Review. She was also included in two anthologies of The Best American Poetry in the years 2001 and 2012, which is how I discovered her poem titled “Poem”, it was in the 2001 edition.

Lindsey Ferreira: How do you decide what is worthy enough to write a poem about?

Noelle Kocot: Everything to me is worthy of poetry–I don’t judge it.  I just write whatever come into my head. I consider myself a mere conduit.  

LF: What was it like when you found out that your poem was going to be put in BAP?

NK: I thought it was very good!  I had other poems accepted to BAP in the past, and it was a pleasure.  A friend of mine gave me a copy of the 2000 BAP as a gift, and I always wanted to be in it!

LF: Do you think that “Poem” is your best work?

NK: I think it was probably one of the best poems I have ever written.

LF: When you write your poems are you trying to write for the masses or are you trying to write for a few?

NK: I guess when I write, I am alone in a room somewhere most of the time, but at the same time, I am writing to communicate.  I guess it feels to me like my audience is made up of my close friends and family–that’s just me.

LF: Who is another poet, alive or dead, that inspires you?

NK: One that really inspires me is the Austrian poet, Georg Trakl.  I love his work, but there are many, many poets who inspire me! All the great ones!


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