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JIMMY LOWE

We’re 5 days into April, a month that often entices us to saunter our way through the springshine. April is National Poetry Month, and it invites us to savor poetical thoughts by reading a poem or perhaps by writing one.

Tasha Cotter is likely to spend some time during these April days sauntering and savoring. She’s likely to spend some time writing lines of poetry, too.

“I’m a big fan of nature poetry and writing about the environment. Poetry and the environment almost go hand in hand for me as a reader and as a writer,” Tasha says.

Speaking by phone from her home in Lexington, Tasha talks about growing up on a Smiths Grove farm where the focus was on tobacco, corn, and cattle. There the view from her bedroom window included “a lot of pasture, a barn and cattle.”

During her younger years she would accompany her family to their work at the Superior Fence Store in Glasgow. It was at the store where Tasha began writing in notebooks. “I didn’t have a lot else to do. It all started there in that environment.” Often during the mornings and afternoons while at the store, the young girl jotted down her impressions of what she saw and heard. “That was also where I started to enjoy reading and thinking more about the literary world,” she comments.

After graduating from Glasgow High in 2002, Tasha attended Centre College, then UK, and finally, Eastern, where she received a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. Her college work focused on creative writing—especially poetry. These days she works in higher education in Lexington and serves as the president of the Kentucky State Poetry Society. Of course, Tasha continues to write.

Let’s not refer to Tasha Cotter as an “up and coming writer” anymore—she’s already here. “The Aqua Notebook” is her last published collection of poetry, and next year Tasha’s third book of poems, “Astonishments” will be released. She’s also the co-writer with Chris Green of the novel, “Us, In Pieces,” scheduled to be available in 3 months.

“My goal as a writer is to continue challenging myself. I really like to write in different genres. It keeps things fresh and interesting for me.” She pauses for a moment, then continues, “I want to grow as a writer and share poetry and the written word with people of all ages and backgrounds.”

I ask her, “Do you recognize the feeling when a headache begins?”

“I definitely do. Yeah.”

“What about a poem?” I ask. “Do you recognize the feeling when a poem begins?”

“For me, it’s usually a word or an image that won’t leave me. I’ve noticed that being outside or traveling awakens something—spurs me to pay more attention than usual. Sometimes we get lost in a routine and forget to be observant.”

Tasha goes on to credit reading as an activity to inspire the writing of a poem. “One of the best things to do is to turn back to a writer you really love and a book you really love. It will jump start an idea.”

Although she’s a hundred or so miles away while we’re talking, I can clearly hear the passion in her voice as she describes the joy from reading. “There’s so much good writing out there—it’s just a matter of connecting the writer to the reader. I really think there’s a poet out there for everyone!”

Tasha Cotter will be one of the featured writers at this years SOKY Book Fest in Bowling Green. She will be there with her books on Saturday, April 27.

Attending the event would be one more good way to celebrate National Poetry Month.