A Poetic Perspective – Toledo City Paper

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Jonie McIntire, the author of chapbooks Semi-domestic (Red Flag Poetry, 2021), Beyond the sidewalk (Nightballet Press, 2017) and Not all who are lost go astray (Finishing Line Press, 2016), is also the poetry editor at Of rust and glass Magazine. McIntire hosts a monthly reading series, Uncloistered poetry (currently online) and co-hosts a weekly open mic, “Just Be You” with Audamatik, at The Trunk. To learn more about McIntire, visit joniemcintire.net.

Years lived in Toledo: 25 years, since 1995.

Describe yourself in five words: Strange, adaptable, enthusiastic, practical, resourceful.

If you had to describe your perfect day:

Almost human cup of coffee with breakfast and a newspaper, playing cards with the kids, long nap with my dogs, meeting (friends) Ramona Olvera and Brent Archer at The Attic, jazz and open mic at The Trunk or Uncloistered Poetry online.

The thing I really need to get rid of:

To feel responsible for everything and everyone.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure TV show/movie/song?

Nerdy Christmas love movies. In 2020, I went through them all!

Describe the poem in one sentence:

Poetry is the divine complexity of life expressed in simple words.

When did you first realize you were a poet?

I have always been a writer. But as I wrote plays and read poetry by recent poets, I began to see how action and description could be condensed into a few words. In a creative writing class at the New College of California when I was living in San Francisco in 1993, we created our own forms. It sold me… in poetry, anything is possible.

Given your accomplishments so far, what’s next?

A complete book and the manufacture of craft publications (small press chapters and leaflets and others). My long-term goal is to establish a writing residency program in Toledo.

Is there “one that got away”, an opportunity you may have missed or wish you had approached differently?

I had the opportunity to teach poetry at a local high school after school program. I was nervous and not well prepared. One student in particular was very talented and intelligent but was clearly suspicious of adults. I wish I had done a better job supporting his talent. And that I was better prepared.

What is your proudest moment as a poet?

During an intensive poetry workshop led by Marge Piercy (poet/activist), whose writing I admire, she said that one of my poems was perfect, “Do not change anything”, and that I had a fantastic voice for readings.

What is your most embarrassing moment as a poet?

Well, I say crazy things all the time so…

Do you have any advice for young people who want to pursue a career in writing?

Read everything, explore every idea with your art, and connect with other writers and artists. This community is going to be the soil from which opportunity and trust will grow.

If you could sit down with one poet, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Adrian Lime. He’s my favorite person.

What is your favorite thing about the city of Toledo?

Everything is possible here. Not easy, but possible. And the talent here is everywhere.

If you could change one thing about Toledo:

Access to public transport and access to micro-credits for the purchase/repair of housing (those traditional banks will not grant). We miss so many opportunities because we haven’t addressed these issues.

When your sweet tooth strikes, where do you go? At Boyd’s, of course. West Toledo provides.

What are your favorite places for a night out? The Attic on Adams, Toledo Spirits and Calvino’s.

Do you go to the library or the bookstore?

The downtown library is amazing. The entire library system is. But if I headed to a bookstore, People Called Women is now an amazing bookmobile, and Gathering Volumes can get you any book you need while supporting local writers and artists.

What is a stereotype about the region that you would like to see disappear?

Whether the people of Toledo love or hate their city fiercely. We do both at the same time.


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