Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press.
His latest collections are Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021) and No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). His work has appeared in the Southern Review, Radar Poetry, The Fourth River, Terrain.org, Construction, Grist, Sugar House, Shenandoah, Pidgeonholes, Cotton Xenomorph and other journals.
Bedell is the recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Individual Achievement in the Humanities Award and the Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement. He was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2017-2019.
Links to recent books:
Q: What is your favourite word?
A: I fall in love with a new word almost every day. My recent crush is on littoral. I love its meaning and its tone.
Q: What is your least favourite word?
A: Never been a fan of dank. It turns any sentence into the setting of an Edgar Allan Poe story.
Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
A: Community does it for me in any of these categories. Being around generous, sympathetic, like-minded people helps me be as productive as I possibly can be.
Q: What turns you off?
A: Lack of caring or humanity turns me off. Kindness and concern for others should be the most basic of our traits.
Q: What is your favourite song?
A: “Passenger” by Deftones is my favourite song. It’s the sound my blood makes traveling through my body.
Q: What is your favourite film?
A: At points in my life I would’ve said “Raging Bull,” at others “Grosse Pointe Blank.” Since I’ve been 100% focused on raising my kids the past 19 years, I’d probably say “Shrek” now.
Q: What is your favourite curse word
A: “Zounds,” maybe?
Q: What sound or noise do you love?
A: I love the sound of flowing water. Anywhere, any time.
Q: What sound or noise do you hate?
A: Can’t stand the sound of anything breaking. Causes dread and panic every time I hear it.
Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A: I spend a high percentage of my time watching investigative shows like Dateline and 48 Hours, so I’d have to say Forensic Pathologist.
Q: What profession would you not like to do?
A: I could never be a surgeon. My tolerance for “good enough” is way too high to have lives depending on my perfection.
Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
A: “Welcome home. I have some people here who’ve been waiting for you.”
Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?
A: Like I tell all my students, give yourself permission to write. You never know who you’ll help by sharing your words and your experiences. Trust that if something means enough to you for you to write it down, it’ll mean as much or more to the people who read it.
Thanks for participating, Jack.