The author of five collections of poetry, his poems have been translated into Spanish, French, Hungarian, Korean and Hebrew. In addition to his poetry, Amen has two new collections strange theater and Illusion of an Overwhelm. Founder and editor of The Pedestal Magazine, Amen is an artist and musician as well. He is the chairperson of the Weymouth Write-On Camp where he and other writers and artists, work with students to hone talents and create excitement for the literary arts.
As to what creates a really good poem, Amen believes,
“Every great poem probably succeeds on its own terms; that is, what it promises and how it delivers on those promises or, alternately, resists delivering on the promises. That’s the thing, every poem creates its own universe, its own orbits within the poem, its own centrifugal and centripetal forces, but then also its own novae and losses of orbit and implosions and celestial collisions. Of course, there are obvious things, powerful voice, imagery, music, use of metaphor, theme, but even these elements are often multilayered, elusive, and paradoxical, so again, every great poem seems to create its own rules and then either adheres to those rules or breaks them in compelling ways. “
“(It is) very worthwhile to introduce the writing process, and/or continue to encourage it, in younger people. If I hadn’t had the artistic process in my life, especially as a teen, I think I would have been completely lost. Some kids are very interested right away, some will become interested, some will find that the creative/artistic approach complements other interests, whether they be in the humanities or sciences. I don’t have any secret, that’s for sure! I do think it’s important to encourage young people in whatever way. And Weymouth is, of course, a beautiful place, one conducive to expression and learning. “
He is currently working on a project that he thinks “Is allowing me to address new experiences and existential contexts as well as variations of voice and new possibilities re language. I try to stay engaged with the process, the practice. I really look at writing, in whatever form or genre, as a practice, one that I hope I continue with for the rest of my life.”
The reading and reception, sponsored by St. Joseph of the Pines, is Wednesday, April 18 at 5:30 in the Great Room and books are available for sale courtesy of The Country Bookshop. The program is free to the public.
Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and home to the NC Literary Hall of Fame.