Filling the need for lightness and brevity in local poetry

An interview with Vermont poet Jimmy Tee

Our poetry editor, Michelle Watters, recently had this exchange with Jimmy Tee, who will be reading his poetry at the upcoming The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 book tour event at Shelburne Vineyard. Here’s what Jimmy had to say about his poetry.

How long have you been a BWW member?

Best of the BWW 2016 poet Jimmy Tee
Best of the BWW 2016 poet Jimmy Tee in his home writing space.

I have been involved with the BWW since January 2014.

Do you feel that it has helped your writing?

Yes. I have learned to use the language and some techniques to better communicate my jumbled thoughts.

When discussing Meow Cat” [Jimmy’s poem in Best of 2016] with my fellow editors, some felt that it could really be about a woman. Is that true?

It starts out that way. I was aiming to fill the need for lightness and brevity in local poetry.

 So is it about a woman or a cat?

It’s about a cat. I believe an author must work hard to approach the level of the subject. In this case, I lay prone on the floor staring deeply into her napping eyes.

Can you describe this cat for our readers a bit?

Meow Cat belongs to my daughter, Grace. Her official name is ‘Untitled Cat’ and she has also gone under the alias of ‘Rock Steady’. She is calm, affectionate, full of random surprises (as in ‘climbing boxes like Everest’ ), content to just be in the same room with you, but sometimes tribute must be paid and she demands attention.

How long have you been writing poetry?

Maybe ten years or so.

 Do you write in other genres?

Once in a while an essay or short tale. I’m beginning to write a cookbook.

Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?

I enjoy creating my works in words, so I hope things stay about the same.

Who are your favorite authors?  Have you drawn inspiration from them?

Henry Miller is second to none; his vision of vitality through experience has followed me most of my life. Vonnegut for clear, human sense. Twain for his humor. I have been enjoying the poems of Sappho, Blake, and Hafiz lately.

What was your childhood like?

Lots of smiles and good times.

 What is your favorite place to write? 

At my desk under a Marc Chagall print. I am writing this at the beach, which is nice.

 What are some of the names of pets you have had throughout the years? Any sage wisdom you have picked up from interacting with them?

I had a dog named Bonzo, but he was difficult in many ways. Meow Cat is a gentle soul, untroubled with just a few desires. That’s for me!

To hear Jimmy and others read their work from this year’s anthology, join us for the upcoming The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016 book tour event at Shelburne Vineyard. Enjoy a glass of local wine while listening to local poets read their work: a perfect pairing for any Vermonter. RSVP now >

About Jimmy

Jimmy Tee, resident poet from Milton, Vermont is a BWW member since 2014. Born and raised in Buffalo NY a very long time ago, he tells himself to keep it light and his cat agrees.

About The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016

This book is the fourth installment in the Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop series. Founded in 2013, the annual anthology features work that is written, selected, and edited by BWW members. The mission of the anthology is to showcase the work of new, emerging, and established Vermont writers while offering Vermonters the opportunity to learn first-hand about the editing, publishing, and book marketing process. The 2016 edition is available for purchase on our website or in the BWW space at 110 Main Street in Burlington. Buy your copy now >