Poet talks publishing, inspiration and the need for editing

The following contains information originally published in The Gardner News, a six-daily newspaper based out of Gardner, Massachusetts.

It started as a fundraiser to help the local Community Church, but ten years later Patricia Frederick has published a handful of poetry anthologies including the most recent title “IV What! Four?”

“I play with words,” Ms. Frederick said of her drive to pen poems. “As a musician, I hear the rhythm and meter in poetry — the words are like spoken music.”

Ms. Frederick published her first book of poetry in 2005. But it wasn’t the first time her work had been in print. That happened when she was a young woman and her father gave Ms. Frederick and her mother a unique Christmas gift.

He had collected poems Ms. Frederick and her mother had written and complied a book for the two women and had copies made as a gift. Ms. Frederick was able to share the book with her friends but also sell some editions during a church fair — she sold out within the day.

Decades later the Community Church decided to host a fundraiser where each member was given $5 and told to “grow” the money. Most members bought supplies — such as flower or vegetable seeds, knitting yarn or cooking indigents — and sold the products of their labor.

Ms. Frederick, who is not a fan of baking or knitting needles, bought a typewriter at a yard sale and went around the community asking friends to donate a poem or fun story. She typed every piece up, wrote some poems and produced about 100 copies of “Through Others’ Eyes,” an anthology of town residents’ works. She raised $500 for the church that year.

The success of the fundraiser inspired Ms. Frederick to compile more of the poetry she had been writing since high school.

“I remember thinking back then ‘I bet I could really do something with this,’” Ms. Frederick said.

Ms. Frederick’s poems are ‘light verses’ or fun, sweet, short pieces that often end in little jokes designed to make readers smile. She draws from life experiences such as seeing an oak leaf dance in the wind or her aunts’ childhood dog won “most miscellaneous dog in show” in a dog show. She recently completed “Celebrating Cats” a collection of poems focused on her feline friends.

Ms. Frederick is working on another collection of poems but admits she has not had the time to sit down and write and edit. She said it can take weeks to make sure a poem is perfect. Even then, sometimes after Ms. Frederick finishes a poem, she will return months later to revise it once again.

“It’s a challenge,” Ms. Frederick said. “Very much like working a puzzle — I try to have the meaning of what I write be as consistent as possible but still have meter and rhyme.”

The poems should “hum,” she said, as method of knowing when a poem is done. Ms. Frederick said aspiring poets should “hone their craft” and always work on poems.

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Below are two of Patricia Frederick poems

 

Definition

Cat: A curious liquid

that can pour

UP

onto the table

from the floor

His responsibility

once you’re inside our kitchen

this dog is a darling

tail waggingly friendly

a real cuddle pup

but knock at our door

with barking and snarling

he’ll greet you with offers

to eat you all up

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