Interview with poet Margaret Goka

Poet Margaret Fourt Goka joins
me to talk about her new chapbook, The
Woven Flag
.
Welcome, Margaret. Please
tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in
Washington, D.C. and lived in Bethesda, Maryland for 18 years. I traveled to
St. Louis, Missouri for college at Washington University, majoring in English
Literature. I met and married my husband in St. Louis. We settled in Sunnyvale,
California where we raised three daughters. I completed a master’s degree in linguistics
at San Jose State University and worked teaching English as a second language
for over 30 years. Now I am retired and a grandmother.
Please tell us a little
bit about your current release.

I have recently
published a book of poetry collected from writing over the years since I was an
undergraduate. It contains poems written when my children were young to the
present.
What inspired you to write
the book?
I like to
reflect on what I have done and thought through writing poems. I wrote about my
children, cats, places where I have been, questions I have, and the lives of my
parents and husband.
Excerpt:
The
dream comes out of sleep whole.
A
universe creates within me
            As I wake.
            I write what I see
Like
a sketch.
What are you working on
next?
I need to find,
collect and type up poems from journals and notebooks. I have not started this
process yet. Some poems are thoughts or events I am sharing with my deceased
husband.
When did you first
consider yourself a writer?

In fourth grade
my teacher told the class that we could all write a book someday. I always
believed her. I took a poetry writing class in college which gave me some
practice. After marrying it was hard to find time to write, but this gradually
became easier as my children grew up and started their own adult lives. Even
when they were small, I intended to write and collected my poems.
Do you write full time? What
do you do other than write?
I do not write
full time. I am active in my church, volunteer at the Sunnyvale Historical
Museum, and go to an exercise class or walk to keep fit. When I get an idea to
write about, I find time to work on it, but I do not put specific time aside to
write when I do not have an idea.
What would you say is an
interesting writing quirk?
My habit is to
keep memos and shopping lists in a small memo notebook. Sometimes I’ll start
writing a poem in it, but since the pages are small, the poem will be brief.
As a child, what did you
want to be when you grew up?
I
wanted to be a teacher.
Thank you for joining me
today, Margaret!

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