Jay Melder, Interview & Poem
In Capital Letters (ICL): What do you want remember about the program in 10 years?
I know I will remember well the wonderful community here, from fellow students to the faculty and staff, for being so generous to me with their time and talents. Also, I will forever remember Mark Cugini and Todbert Belden for being right there with me when that kid was juggling cups on the quad—priceless words were said out loud. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Todbert.
ICL: From being part of the program and participating in workshops and the Visiting Writers series, what do you think are the most important things you have learned about your own writing? How has your writing changed?
I’ve learned that for writing to be successful it must be genuine, and that’s a pretty high bar.
ICL: What is your favorite quote or line from a book?
Book? Don’t know about that, but a little ditty by the great Randy Newman comes to mind… “My life is good. My life is good. My life is good, you old bag. My life is good.”
ICL: What have you read most recently that inspired you?
I read a collection of poems by first and second graders from Arlington. All the poems were in conversation with a painting of the poet’s choosing from the American Museum of Art. Talk about genuine writing.
ICL: Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
When I was 12, I starred in an educational TV program called Science Out of This World. I played “Jay the Launch Pad Kid,” and would perform little experiments about space science with my side kick, Lindy. The experiments never got much more sophisticated than tying a weight to the end of a piece of string, twirling it around our heads and saying: Look, centrifugal force! It was canceled after two seasons.
ICL: If your life had a theme song right now, what would it be?
The Turtles, “So Happy Together.” My life is good.
“After We Have Dinner”
The dishwater hums for hours
like it knows labor
is easiest with a song.