Author of over 20 art books, as well as two collections of poetry, Carl Little is an accomplished writer. Pomegranate has collaborated with Little on many successful art books, such as Edward Hopper's New England, Hero: The Painting of Robert Bissell, and the recent release Irene Hardwicke Olivieri: Closer to Wildness.
Artist Irene Hardwicke Olivieri interviewed Little on her blog, Light Seeking Eyes. Her questions illuminate the many facets of this complex and intriguing man, including his inspiration as a writer, his process, and how his environment influences his work. The following are a few excerpts from her interview. You can read the full interview on Olivieri's blog.
What is the best part about being a poet, a writer?
I really love it when something I’ve written strikes a chord with someone. I guess there’s some ego there, but it seems to make it all worthwhile when an artist responds to an article or review or the audience at a reading laughs at a bit of humor.
What is the worst?
Writing has taken time away from family and friends and being more active in the community and spending time in nature. I accept that there’s a sacrifice, but at times I know I should be saying no to projects and going snowshoeing instead.
What motivates you to write?
The great motivator for me is the desire to convey something: to highlight the work of a particular artist in a review or book or share a vision or feeling in a poem. I do make money from my art writing and a little bit from poetry, but the financial benefits are not what drive me. The art spurs me to words; the sound of spring peepers moves me to verse.
What would you tell the younger you, just starting to write?
“Hey, Carl, push it harder, don’t be so easily satisfied with what you’ve written. When you think the poem is all set, read it aloud again and question its integrity and ask if you’ve pushed it far enough. When you think you’ve perfectly described somebody’s sculpture, look at the work again and consider it from another angle.” Of course, I offer the same advice to the present me.
What kind of pets do you have?
We had a Springer Spaniel for many years, named Buster (subject of two of my poems) and a cat named Cedar Sox (also the subject of a poem). Right now we are in long-term sitting mode for Welker, my daughter Emily and her husband Charles’s cat, who came to Maine from Charlottesville last summer and has not gone back (considering the winter we’ve had so far, she’d probably prefer to be in Virginia).
photo from Olivieri's blog Light Seeking Eyes