I live, teach, and push words around in the Mississippi river town of Saint Louis, Missouri.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
The people … I feel those in the Midwest are an amalgamation of all personality types from across the US. If America is the melting pot, the Midwest is the melt.
What turns you on creatively?
I am motivated to discover the kinks that make a piece of writing unsuccessful and remove them. I remember pulling out a poem proving unsuccessful during a workshop at Washington University in St. Louis. There was a particular line at its center, which as author, I – of course – adored. Remembering Stephen King and his kill-your-darlings mantra, I winced – winced hard – and removed the line. It was as if I felt the poem solidify instantly, heard its walls thunk down like bricks into mortar. It had structurally arrived. “To Clara: Regarding Your Critique” was published upon its next submission.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
In a poetic sense, I favor the word or poetic device of enjambment, as exemplified in the following excerpt from my poem “Disease” … Dis ease / It seeps beyond your body / Into our shared lives / makingsimplethingsdifficult. It provides just the right degree of irritation to bring the point home. If allowed a second, I would choose the term or poetic device made famous by E.E. Cummings … open field … as in … we are in a / l o n g g o o d b y e / embrace. To me, this extends a feeling, leaves it hanging like a gossamer thread in the wind.
What is your pet peeve?
I have a pet peeve when using the word that as a conjunction. It is to be used when the phrase, which follows, is integral to the meaning of the sentence. Yet, many people use it indiscriminately as a filler word. I have found that in most cases the word can be removed to tighten the sentence structure.
What defines Keith Hoerner?
The imaginative awareness of being that defines Keith Hoerner has been forged from the fires of child abuse and alcoholism (as a means to self-anesthetize); now free of these entanglements, his being is quieter, more observant, and filled with a fury to give voice to the silenced. His memoir and MFA Thesis Missing the Mark: A Target Child Speaks can be found on Amazon.