Search the Site

10 Questions for Chard deNiord

I think you’re still here sometimes
calling to me like the thrush at dusk
inside the woods where I lose my way.
I search for you like a ghost myself
in all the usual places, stand on the shore
this side of you and speak to the river
that flows and stays, stays and flows.
from "This Side of You," Volume 65, Issue 1 (Spring 2024)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I began writing short lyrical poems in my early teens. I had no idea where
they came from or what inspired them. All I remember is that they both mystified and
frightened me. But I kept writing them. They were often self-instructional as well.
Here’s an example of some juvenilia I remember:

Lead me out into the fields
Where I can learn to speak the truth
As easily as the long grass sways
In the wind.

What writer(s) or works have influenced the way you write now?
Ecclesiastes, the Greek myths, Catullus, The Brothers Karamazov,
The Odyssey, Genesis, The Inferno, Nabokov, The Gospel
Of Mark, Robert Frost, Edmund Spenser, Soren Kierkegaard,
Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Ana Karenina, James Wright,
All the contemporary poets in my two books of interviews
with contemporary American poets Sad Friends, Stapled Songs,
Drowned Lovers and I Would Lie To You If I Could

What other professions have you worked in?
I’ve worked as both an inpatient and outpatient
psychotherapist, a secondary school teacher,
and a college professor

What did you want to be when you were young?
A surgeon like my father.

What inspired you to write this piece?
The passing of my mother.

Is there a city or place, real or imagined, that influences your writing?
I’ve always been especially inspired by the wild, rural areas I’ve lived in, particularly
Bedford County, Virginia and Westminster West, Vermont. The city in which
I wrote many of mine is New Haven, CT

Is there any specific music that aids you through the writing or editing process?
Deuter, Mazzy Star, Cigarettes After Sex, Theo Bleckman, Paul Desmond, Miles Davis

Do you have any rituals or traditions that you do in order to write?
I write a lot in the bath tub.

Who typically gets the first read of your work?
My wife.

What are you reading right now?
The manuscript of a new novel by Ethan Canin
The Trauma Mantra by Adrie Kusserow
Milosz In Washington (1946-53) by Czeslaw Milosz
White Dress by Brenda Hillman
Milosz In Washington 1946-1953, translated by Robert Hass and David Frick (in manuscript form)


CHARD DENIORD is the author of 7 books of poetry, most recently In My Unknowing (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 2020) and Interstate (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). He served as the poet laureate of Vermont from 2015 to 2019.

Join the email list for our latest news