Bill Glose is a former paratrooper, a Gulf War veteran, and author of the poetry collection, The Human Touch (San Francisco Bay Press, 2007). In 2011, he was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, New York Quarterly, and Chiron Review, among others.
Amoskeag: The 2012 issue has come to be known as the “Identity” issue; in what way does your work deal with “identity?”
Bill: Blind Dog comes from my manuscript Half a Man. The poems in this collection cover the period before, during and after I went to war in Iraq. The person I was before the war was not the same person who came back, and much of my work centers on the search for my true identity through questions of personal choice and culpability.
Amoskeag: In developing your main and supporting characters, how do you see them losing or finding themselves?
Bill: Frequently I put my characters in uncomfortable situations that were created by their own actions. Not only does this create perfect conditions for conflict, it also leaves the characters unable to pin blame on anyone else. In striving for solutions, they have to ask hard questions about themselves as they face consequences for their deeds.
Amoskeag: What is the one line, the one sentence in your piece that for you sums up the meaning of “identity?”
Bill: The opening of my poem, “All I want / is to live / my life with / confidence / of a blind dog,” sums up my quest for identity. It implies that I know who I am, but I want to be something else, something more, something better. “Confidence” refers not only to a desire to be more assertive, but also in being comfortable with my identity, whatever that may be. A blind dog does not whine about losing his sight. It accepts that it can no longer see, makes adjustments, and then finds ways to continue chasing squeaky toys and clawing open bags of Kibble.
Amoskeag: How do you identify yourself as a writer — how did you get here? Who/what made you so? Where have you come from? What have you gone through?
Bill: Primarily I identify myself as a magazine writer—that is how I earn my living. I am a contributing editor with Virginia Living and a stringer with a few other publications. When I’m not on deadline, I write fiction and poetry. Articles are the meat and potatoes in my writing life; fiction and poetry, the dessert.
After I got out of the Army, I spent several years in the world of manufacturing, rising to the position of production manager at a paper factory. I was successful, but I was unhappy. This was not what I wanted to do with my life. I would come home from twelve-hour days and sit at my desk writing stories. After a while, I decided to take the leap, and I walked away from my career to become a full-time writer. The paychecks may not have been as large or frequent as when I was a manager, but my life is finally full. What I love about being a writer is that I can follow whatever stories most capture my imagination, learn more about them, share what I learn with others, and—best of all—get paid for it!
Amoskeag: What lies ahead for you?
Bill: I’ve recently been working on some longer projects while I shop two completed collections (one poetry and the other short stories) to publishers. I’m working on a novel and a non-fiction book about my great adventure of walking across Virginia—yet another wonderful experience that I would not have been able to undertake were I not a writer.
To view an excerpt from Bill’s poem “Blind Dog,” click here.