Lowell   Jaeger   is   founding   editor   of   Many   Voices   Press   and has   edited   two   anthologies   of   Montana   poets,   Poems   Across the   Big   Sky   I   (2007)   and   Poems   Across   the   Big   Sky   II   (2017). He   also   edited   New   Poets   of   the American   West,   an   anthology of    poets    from    western    states.    Lowell    has    taught    writing classes    at    numerous    conferences    and    workshops    and    is currently    Professor    of    English/Creative    Writing    at    Flathead Valley   Community   College   (Kalispell,   Montana),   where   he   also serves   as   Humanities   Division   Chair.   He   is   a   graduate   of   the Iowa   Writer’s   Workshop,   winner   of   the   Grolier   Poetry   Peace Prize,     and     recipient     of     fellowships     from     the     National Endowment   for   the   Arts   and   the   Montana   Arts   Council.   Lowell was   awarded   the   Montana   Governor’s   Humanities   Award   for his   work   in   promoting   civil   civic   discourse.   He   is   the   author   of seven    collections    of    poems.    His    poetry    leads    you    to    the wonderful places and feeds your soul... JBN:   Let’s   say   you   happen   to   overhear   two   poets   talking about   poetry.   One   of   them   asks   the   more   well-read   poet, “What    stands    out    most    about    Lowell    Jaeger’    poetry?” What    do    you    hope    the    responding    poet    notices    about your work? Lowell   Jaeger:   This   is   a   good   question.      Makes   me   think   .   .   .   .     Here’s   how   I   would   like   to   be   understood:      My   poems   are   all about   people.      Even   when   I   ‘m   writing   about   animals,   I’m writing   about   people,   about   how   humans   relate   to   animals.      So that’s   first   of   all;   my   poems   are   somewhat   obsessed   with   the “human   condition,”   what   it   means   to   be   alive   in   this   world.      My poems   are   largely   narratives.      I   love   telling   stories,   and   I   do rely    on    the    power    of    stories    to    convey    larger    meanings.      Stories   are   an   essential   part   of   the   human   condition;   we   all enjoy   telling   stories,   and   we   all   enjoy   hearing   stories.      So that’s   two   noteworthy   characteristics   of   my   poems.      A   third characteristic   would   be   that   my   poems   celebrate   and   illuminate   common   people   and   ordinary   daily   events   and interactions.      For   me,   I   “feel   a   poem   happening”   when   I   see   how   extraordinary,   strange,   and   wonderful   are   the ordinary   affairs   and   concerns   of   ordinary   folks.      No   matter   how   plain   our   lives   may   be,   it’s   miraculous   we   are here at all.  That’s my main message. JBN:   You   said   you   like   to   work   with   students.   What   do   you   particularly   like   about   it?   Perhaps   you   will recall interesting cases from your practice? Lowell   Jaeger:   I’ve   been   teaching   now   for   nearly   40   years.      Mostly   I’ve   been   teaching   Freshman   Composition, the   “bone-head”   English   course   required   of   all   entering   college   students.      I’ve   come   to   love   teaching   this   course most   of   all.      It’s   a   thrill   to   me   to   see   students   discovering   themselves   through   writing.      My   students   begin   my course   by   writing   a   series   of   personal   essays   and   by   journaling   daily.      My   goal   is   to   nudge   students   to   pay   closer attention   to   their   own   thoughts,   their   own   biases,   their   own   insights.      “Know   thyself,”   said   Socrates.      It’s important   we   know   ourselves   before   we   can   truly   understand   the   thoughts   of   others.      Once   we   know   ourselves, we   can   better   listen   to   others.      Once   we   start   listening   to   others,   we   can   engage   in   meaningful   conversation.     Once we’ve practice meaningful conversation, we can participate in the great on-going dialogues of our society.  On   a   teacher   evaluation   form,   one   of   my   students   wrote   this:   “I   never   learned   so   much   from   a   teacher   who taught   me   nothing.”      There’s   humor   and   irony   in   that   statement.      I   see   it   as   a   huge   compliment.      This   student understood that my overarching goal in teaching is to nudge students toward self-discovery.  A   final   thought   here:      I   love   teaching   because   I’m   a   life-long   learner.      I   learn   a   lot   from   my   students.      Each semester,   as   students   share   their   stories,   I   learn   more   and   more   about   the   basic   truths   of   existence.      Also,   I promise   my   students   that   –   just   as   I   expect   them   to   practice   writing   –   I   will   practice   along   beside   them.      So teaching keeps me thinking, keeps me writing.  I feel blessed. JBN:    Can    you    really    learn    to    write    poetry?    I    mean    if    a    person    has    not    found    a    special    talent    in him/herself. Lowell   Jaeger:   I   feel   strongly   about   this:   anyone   can   write   poetry.      Anyone   can   sing.      Anyone   can   dance.     Anyone   can   make   art.      Especially   when   we   are   very   young,   we   all   sing   and   dance   and   draw   and   employ language   creatively.      Sure,   some   people   are   born   with   more   specialized   talent   than   others.      We   don’t   all   have   to be   great   and   famous   poets   to   write   a   poem.      Each   of   us   can   write   what’s   in   his   or   her   own   heart.      All   art   is human   expression.      In   each   of   us,   there’s   something   yearning   toward   expression.      “I’d   rather   teach   a   single   bird to   sing,”   said   the   poet   e.e.   cummings,   “than   teach   a   thousand   stars   how   not   to   dance.”      Let’s   sing.      Let’s   dance.     Let’s write poems. JBN: Please tell us about your organization Many Voices Press? What projects are you planning now? Lowell   Jaeger:   Many   Voices   Press   was   founded   in   2005   as   a   non-profit   small   press   of   Flathead   Valley Community   College   in   Kalispell,   Montana   –   a   snowball’s   throw   from   Glacier   National   Park.         I   teach   creative writing   and   freshman   composiition   at   FVCC,   and   basically   my   small   office   at   the   college   doubles   as   the   world headquarters   for   Many   Voices   Press,   which   is   to   say   that   on   many   occasions   it’s   difficult   to   find   a   place   in   this office   to   sit   down.         We   are   staffed   entirely   by   non-paid   volunteers,   including   myself   as   Editor;   Hannah   Bissell, our Assistant Editor.                                                                      Our   guiding   vision   is   to   be   of   service   to   Montana   poets,   especially   Native American   poets,   though our   recent   anthology,   New   Poets   of   the   American   West ,   reaches   out   to   poets   across   the   West.         It’s   difficult   for poets   in   rural   places   to   connect   with   appreciative   audiences   and   the   larger   literary   community.         We   aim   to   help rural   poets   make   connections.         Simply   put,   there’s   a   lot   of   talent   in   rural   places   that   goes   unnoticed.         Also   we are   in   the   business   of   expanding   audiences   for   poetry.         We   are   proud   to   say   that   New   Poets   of   the   American West    generated   over   50   literary   readings/events   across   the   West,   including   readings   at   some   of   the   West’s   most prominent independent bookstores                                                                      We   have   received   several   small   grants,   including   a   “Book   Subvention   Grant”   from   Humanities Montana,   for   which   we   are   ever   grateful.         Having   said   that,   the   money   it   takes   to   print   our   books   comes   mostly from   the   generosity   of   people   who   donate   cash--five,   ten,   twenty   dollars   at   a   time.         It’s   been   a   heartwarming experience   for   me   to   see   how   many   people   are   willing   to   give   to   a   good   non-profit   cause.         Book   sales   are   our second   largest   source   of   funding,   though   anyone   who   has   ever   run   a   small   press   knows   how   difficult   it   can   be   to market   what   you   print.         Large   distributors   ignore   most   small   presses,   especially   if   you’re   trying   to   sell   them books of poems                                                                     Another   point   of   pride   for   our   press   is   our   commitment   to   the   diversity   of   languages   in   the   West.        New   Poets   of   the   American   West    includes   poems   in   Spanish   as   well   as   poems   in   Dakota,   Navajo, Assiniboine, and   Salish.   Victor   Charlo’s   book,   Good   Enough ,   includes   poems   in   Salish;   Lois   Red   Elk’s   book,   Our   Blood Remembers ,   includes   poems   in   Dakota   as   well   as   a   glossary   of   Dakota   words   and   phrases.         There   are   many voices in rural places, and Many Voices Press wishes to honor them all.                        To date, we’ve published:         Poems Across the Big Sky  (2007) – an anthology of 120 Montana poets         Good Enough  by Victor A. Charlo, (2008) spiritual leader of the Flathead Salish         New Poets of the American West (2010) – and anthology of 260 poets from 11 states.        Our Blood Remembers  (2011) by Lois Red Elk Lakota elder Nakoda Sky People (2012) by Minerva Allen Assiniboine elder Why I Return to Makoci (2015) by Lois Red Elk Poems Across the Big Sky II (2017) – an anthology of over 100 Montana poets Dirty Corner Poems and Stories (2018) by Victor A. Charlo JBN:   Poems   Across   the   Big   Sky   and   Poems   Across   the   Big   Sky   II...   Is   the   publication   of   these   books something special for you? Lowell    Jaeger:    Both    the    Poems   Across    the    Big    Sky     anthologies    are    efforts    to    build    literary    friendships, collaborations,   and   community   across   Montana.      We   live   in   such   a   big   state,   and   such   great   expanses   of   space separate   us.      These   anthologies,   I   hope,   have   helped   to   introduce   poets   to   one   another,   helped   to   bring   poets together.      In   rural   and   remote   locations,   talent   too   often   goes   unrecognized.      There’s   so   much   talent   here.      So much talent everywhere. JBN:   What   is   your   writing   and   editing   process   like?   How   long   does   it   generally   take   you   to   finish   a poem? Lowell   Jaeger:   Is   a   poem   ever   finished?      I   hope   not.      Picasso,   when   asked   which   was   his   favorite   of   all   his painting,   said,   “The   next   one.”      I   feel   that   way   about   my   poems.      Each   next   poem   is   another   small   piece   in   the larger   puzzle.      I   tend   to   fall   thoroughly   in   love   with   each   poem   as   I   begin   to   scribble   it   in   my   notebook.      Love   is blind,   and   maybe   that’s   a   blessing   which   allows   me   the   courage   to   put   words   on   the   page   in   the   first   place.     Later   I   go   back   to   the   same   poem   with   a   more   objective   eye.      I   guess   that’s   what   I’d   call   “editing.”      It’s   a   lucky moment when I go back to a poem and find that whatever I’d loved in the first place is still there.  JBN: What Poets Do You Read? Lowell   Jaeger:   I   read   poems   every   day.      I   loved   Writer’s Almanac,   which   sent   a   poem   to   my   email   in-box   daily.     Now   I   get   poems   in   my   email   inbox   daily   from   other   sources,   too.      I   submit   my   work   to   journals   twice   yearly.      I   try my   best   to   read   the   poems   in   these   journals,   and   often   I’m   rewarded   by   hearing   new   voices,   new   possibilities.     Favorite poets?  Frost.  Whitman.  Ted Kooser.  Richard Wilbur.  Mary Oliver. JBN:   What   are   your   primary   interests   outside   of   poetry?   How   do   you   integrate   these   interests   into   your poetry? Lowell   Jaeger:   I’ve   been   a   silversmith/goldsmith   for   over   40   years.      I   like   to   work   with   my   hands.      It’s   a   sort   of meditation,   and   it   feels   good   to   make   something   I   can   hold   up   to   the   light   and   know   I’d   fashioned   it.      Now,   my son   has   become   a   professional   fossil   digger-upper.      He   takes   me   on   trips   to   dig   for   dino   bones.      This   has become   my   passion   also.      It’s   in   my   blood-line.      Jaegers   love   rocks,   love   hunting   for   treasures.      Writers   need   to live   broadly,   to   have   many   interests,   and   to   enthusiastically   engage   in   the   world   around   them.      It   all   comes   out   in the writing, in small ways and big ways. JBN:. Poetry for you is... Lowell   Jaeger:   Another   great   question.      Here’s   how   I’d   answer:   Poetry   (all   art)   is   an   anti-anesthetic.      An anesthetic   is   used   to   numb   the   senses   and   dull   the   mind.      Art   does   the   opposite.      Art   invites   us   to   wake   up,   to feel, to think.  That’s what great poems do.  That’s what I want my poems to do, too.
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  Lowell Jaeger : For me, I “feel a poem happening” when I see how extraordinary, strange, and wonderful are the ordinary affairs and concerns of ordinary folks. 
Interview
Lowell   Jaeger   is   founding editor     of     Many     Voices Press   and   has   edited   two anthologies     of     Montana poets,   Poems   Across   the Big     Sky     I     (2007)     and Poems    Across     the     Big Sky    II    (2017).    He    also edited   New   Poets   of   the American        West,        an anthology    of    poets    from western      states.      Lowell has   taught   writing   classes at   numerous   conferences and     workshops     and     is currently      Professor      of English/Creative      Writing at         Flathead         Valley Community             College (Kalispell,           Montana), where   he   also   serves   as   Humanities   Division   Chair.   He is   a   graduate   of   the   Iowa   Writer’s   Workshop,   winner   of the     Grolier     Poetry     Peace     Prize,     and     recipient     of fellowships   from   the   National   Endowment   for   the   Arts and   the   Montana   Arts   Council.   Lowell   was   awarded   the Montana   Governor’s   Humanities   Award   for   his   work   in promoting   civil   civic   discourse.   He   is   the   author   of   seven collections    of    poems.    His    poetry    leads    you    to    the wonderful places and feeds your soul... JBN:   Let’s   say   you   happen   to   overhear   two   poets talking   about   poetry.   One   of   them   asks   the   more well-read   poet,   “What   stands   out   most   about   Lowell Jaeger’   poetry?”   What   do   you   hope   the   responding poet notices about your work? Lowell   Jaeger:   This   is   a   good   question.      Makes   me think   .   .   .   .      Here’s   how   I   would   like   to   be   understood:     My   poems   are   all   about   people.      Even   when   I   ‘m   writing about    animals,    I’m    writing    about    people,    about    how humans    relate    to    animals.        So    that’s    first    of    all;    my poems     are     somewhat     obsessed     with     the     “human condition,”   what   it   means   to   be   alive   in   this   world.      My poems   are   largely   narratives.      I   love   telling   stories,   and   I do    rely    on    the    power    of    stories    to    convey    larger meanings.      Stories   are   an   essential   part   of   the   human condition;   we   all   enjoy   telling   stories,   and   we   all   enjoy hearing      stories.            So      that’s      two      noteworthy characteristics    of    my    poems.        A    third    characteristic would    be    that    my    poems    celebrate    and    illuminate common     people     and     ordinary     daily     events     and interactions.      For   me,   I   “feel   a   poem   happening”   when   I see   how   extraordinary,   strange,   and   wonderful   are   the ordinary    affairs    and    concerns    of    ordinary    folks.        No matter   how   plain   our   lives   may   be,   it’s   miraculous   we are here at all.  That’s my main message. JBN:   You   said   you   like   to   work   with   students.   What do   you   particularly   like   about   it?   Perhaps   you   will recall interesting cases from your practice? Lowell   Jaeger:   I’ve   been   teaching   now   for   nearly   40 years.            Mostly      I’ve      been      teaching      Freshman Composition,   the   “bone-head”   English   course   required of    all    entering    college    students.        I’ve    come    to    love teaching   this   course   most   of   all.      It’s   a   thrill   to   me   to   see students   discovering   themselves   through   writing.      My students   begin   my   course   by   writing   a   series   of   personal essays   and   by   journaling   daily.      My   goal   is   to   nudge students   to   pay   closer   attention   to   their   own   thoughts, their   own   biases,   their   own   insights.      “Know   thyself,” said   Socrates.      It’s   important   we   know   ourselves   before we   can   truly   understand   the   thoughts   of   others.      Once we    know    ourselves,    we    can    better    listen    to    others.      Once   we   start   listening   to   others,   we   can   engage   in meaningful      conversation.            Once      we’ve      practice meaningful   conversation,   we   can   participate   in   the   great on-going dialogues of our society.  On   a   teacher   evaluation   form,   one   of   my   students wrote   this:   “I   never   learned   so   much   from   a   teacher   who taught   me   nothing.”      There’s   humor   and   irony   in   that statement.      I   see   it   as   a   huge   compliment.      This   student understood   that   my   overarching   goal   in   teaching   is   to nudge students toward self-discovery.  A   final   thought   here:      I   love   teaching   because   I’m   a life-long   learner.      I   learn   a   lot   from   my   students.      Each semester,   as   students   share   their   stories,   I   learn   more and   more   about   the   basic   truths   of   existence.      Also,   I promise   my   students   that   –   just   as   I   expect   them   to practice   writing   –   I   will   practice   along   beside   them.      So teaching   keeps   me   thinking,   keeps   me   writing.      I   feel blessed. JBN:   Can   you   really   learn   to   write   poetry?   I   mean   if a     person     has     not     found     a     special     talent     in him/herself. Lowell   Jaeger:   I   feel   strongly   about   this:   anyone   can write   poetry.      Anyone   can   sing.      Anyone   can   dance.     Anyone   can   make   art.      Especially   when   we   are   very young,   we   all   sing   and   dance   and   draw   and   employ language   creatively.      Sure,   some   people   are   born   with more   specialized   talent   than   others.      We   don’t   all   have to   be   great   and   famous   poets   to   write   a   poem.      Each   of us   can   write   what’s   in   his   or   her   own   heart.      All   art   is human   expression.      In   each   of   us,   there’s   something yearning   toward   expression.      “I’d   rather   teach   a   single bird   to   sing,”   said   the   poet   e.e.   cummings,   “than   teach   a thousand   stars   how   not   to   dance.”      Let’s   sing.      Let’s dance.  Let’s write poems. JBN:   Please   tell   us   about   your   organization   Many Voices Press? What projects are you planning now? Lowell    Jaeger:    Many    Voices    Press    was    founded    in 2005    as    a    non-profit    small    press    of    Flathead    Valley Community   College   in   Kalispell,   Montana   –   a   snowball’s throw    from    Glacier    National    Park.            I    teach    creative writing     and     freshman     composiition     at     FVCC,     and basically   my   small   office   at   the   college   doubles   as   the world   headquarters   for   Many   Voices   Press,   which   is   to say   that   on   many   occasions   it’s   difficult   to   find   a   place   in this   office   to   sit   down.         We   are   staffed   entirely   by   non- paid    volunteers,    including    myself    as    Editor;    Hannah Bissell, our Assistant Editor.                                                                      Our   guiding   vision   is   to   be   of   service   to Montana     poets,     especially     Native    American     poets, though     our     recent     anthology,     New     Poets     of     the American   West ,   reaches   out   to   poets   across   the   West.        It’s    difficult    for    poets    in    rural    places    to    connect    with appreciative      audiences      and      the      larger      literary community.            We    aim    to    help    rural    poets    make connections.         Simply   put,   there’s   a   lot   of   talent   in   rural places    that    goes    unnoticed.            Also    we    are    in    the business   of   expanding   audiences   for   poetry.         We   are proud    to    say    that    New    Poets    of    the   American    West   generated   over   50   literary   readings/events   across   the West,   including   readings   at   some   of   the   West’s   most prominent independent bookstores                                                                      We   have   received   several   small   grants, including   a   “Book   Subvention   Grant”   from   Humanities Montana,   for   which   we   are   ever   grateful.         Having   said that,   the   money   it   takes   to   print   our   books   comes   mostly from   the   generosity   of   people   who   donate   cash--five, ten,   twenty   dollars   at   a   time.         It’s   been   a   heartwarming experience   for   me   to   see   how   many   people   are   willing to   give   to   a   good   non-profit   cause.         Book   sales   are   our second   largest   source   of   funding,   though   anyone   who has   ever   run   a   small   press   knows   how   difficult   it   can   be to   market   what   you   print.         Large   distributors   ignore most   small   presses,   especially   if   you’re   trying   to   sell them books of poems                                                                     Another   point   of   pride   for   our   press   is   our commitment   to   the   diversity   of   languages   in   the   West.        New   Poets   of   the   American   West    includes   poems   in Spanish     as     well     as     poems     in     Dakota,     Navajo, Assiniboine,    and    Salish.    Victor    Charlo’s    book,    Good Enough ,   includes   poems   in   Salish;   Lois   Red   Elk’s   book, Our   Blood   Remembers ,   includes   poems   in   Dakota   as well   as   a   glossary   of   Dakota   words   and   phrases.        There are   many   voices   in   rural   places,   and   Many   Voices   Press wishes to honor them all.                        To date, we’ve published:         Poems Across the Big Sky  (2007) – an anthology of 120 Montana poets         Good Enough  by Victor A. Charlo, (2008) spiritual leader of the Flathead Salish         New Poets of the American West (2010) – and anthology of 260 poets from 11 states.        Our Blood Remembers  (2011) by Lois Red Elk Lakota elder Nakoda Sky People (2012) by Minerva Allen Assiniboine elder Why I Return to Makoci (2015) by Lois Red Elk Poems Across the Big Sky II (2017) – an anthology of over 100 Montana poets Dirty Corner Poems and Stories (2018) by Victor A. Charlo JBN:   Poems   Across   the   Big   Sky   and   Poems   Across the   Big   Sky   II...   Is   the   publication   of   these   books something special for you? Lowell   Jaeger:   Both   the   Poems   Across   the   Big   Sky   anthologies    are    efforts    to    build    literary    friendships, collaborations,    and    community    across    Montana.        We live   in   such   a   big   state,   and   such   great   expanses   of space   separate   us.      These   anthologies,   I   hope,   have helped    to    introduce    poets    to    one    another,    helped    to bring    poets    together.        In    rural    and    remote    locations, talent   too   often   goes   unrecognized.      There’s   so   much talent here.  So much talent everywhere. JBN:   What   is   your   writing   and   editing   process   like? How    long    does    it    generally    take    you    to    finish    a poem? Lowell   Jaeger:   Is   a   poem   ever   finished?      I   hope   not.     Picasso,   when   asked   which   was   his   favorite   of   all   his painting,   said,   “The   next   one.”      I   feel   that   way   about   my poems.      Each   next   poem   is   another   small   piece   in   the larger   puzzle.      I   tend   to   fall   thoroughly   in   love   with   each poem   as   I   begin   to   scribble   it   in   my   notebook.      Love   is blind,   and   maybe   that’s   a   blessing   which   allows   me   the courage   to   put   words   on   the   page   in   the   first   place.     Later   I   go   back   to   the   same   poem   with   a   more   objective eye.      I   guess   that’s   what   I’d   call   “editing.”      It’s   a   lucky moment    when    I    go    back    to    a    poem    and    find    that whatever I’d loved in the first place is still there.  JBN: What Poets Do You Read? Lowell    Jaeger:    I    read    poems    every    day.        I    loved Writer’s Almanac,   which   sent   a   poem   to   my   email   in-box daily.      Now   I   get   poems   in   my   email   inbox   daily   from other   sources,   too.      I   submit   my   work   to   journals   twice yearly.        I    try    my    best    to    read    the    poems    in    these journals,   and   often   I’m   rewarded   by   hearing   new   voices, new   possibilities.      Favorite   poets?      Frost.      Whitman.     Ted Kooser.  Richard Wilbur.  Mary Oliver. JBN:    What    are    your    primary    interests    outside    of poetry?   How   do   you   integrate   these   interests   into your poetry? Lowell    Jaeger:    I’ve    been    a    silversmith/goldsmith    for over   40   years.      I   like   to   work   with   my   hands.      It’s   a   sort of   meditation,   and   it   feels   good   to   make   something   I   can hold   up   to   the   light   and   know   I’d   fashioned   it.      Now,   my son   has   become   a   professional   fossil   digger-upper.      He takes    me    on    trips    to    dig    for    dino    bones.        This    has become   my   passion   also.      It’s   in   my   blood-line.      Jaegers love   rocks,   love   hunting   for   treasures.      Writers   need   to live      broadly,      to      have      many      interests,      and      to enthusiastically   engage   in   the   world   around   them.      It   all comes out in the writing, in small ways and big ways. JBN:. Poetry for you is... Lowell   Jaeger:   Another   great   question.      Here’s   how   I’d answer:    Poetry    (all    art)    is    an    anti-anesthetic.        An anesthetic   is   used   to   numb   the   senses   and   dull   the mind.     Art   does   the   opposite.     Art   invites   us   to   wake   up, to   feel,   to   think.      That’s   what   great   poems   do.      That’s what I want my poems to do, too.
Johnson’s Billings News
Interview
Hosted by Johnson Computing
They are read.  We are Quoted!!!
  Lowell Jaeger : For me, I “feel a poem happening” when I see how extraordinary, strange, and wonderful are the ordinary affairs and concerns of ordinary folks.