- Licking the bones dry
- Aphrodite falling
by Angel McLean (SHS)
Susan Love Fitts was born in 1946, in Natchez, Mississippi. In addition to her parents, her family included a sister, four brothers, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. She moved to Texas in the mid-1970’s and now resides in Montgomery, Texas. She is a freelance writer, and her articles have been published in many newspapers all over the world. Fitts is well known in Texas. She has published articles in The Houston Chronicle and other Texas newspapers. Fitts is a member of the Woodlands Writers’ Guild, the Southwest writers, Writers’ League of Texas, Poets Northwest, and the Poetry Society of Texas. She is involved in many clubs and organizations, most of which are in Texas.
Susan Fitts has received many awards for her accomplishments. She was awarded first place for her poem Purple Sail, second place for her poem Two Faces Past, and honorable mention for her poem Aunt Leota. All of these poems that won awards are in her new book Licking the bones dry, published in October 2001 by Fantasia. Fitts also won third place for best long poem: a poem was called Elijah.
Fitts says she realizes that only reflections of relationships and experiences can help us “begin to live life to the fullest.” She adds, “In sharing my poetry, I hope to connect with a few people who may recognize the journey and take a few steps with me.” (preface from Licking the bones dry vii.)
In October, 2001, Fitts was a featured author, speaker, and judge at the Ninth Annual Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams’s festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi. She also participated in many of the other activities held in Mississippi.
Fitts’s husband Charles is a composer of classical music, and he has set a number of her poems to music. He set “Sanctus Sestina” (in her book) to music for a small choir. In October, 2002, a choir in Mexico City premiered it and selected it to sing for the Choir Olympics in Korea. The choir received a silver medal for the performance. In addition, Susan Love Fitts joined efforts with her husband Charlie on his string quartet No. 3 called Hearts Celestial. She wrote the lyrics for the final movement. The world premier of this quartet was held August 25, 2001, at the International Festival- Institute at Round Top, Texas.
Writing about Fitts, one reviewer says, “Her poetry is thought-provoking, the kind you want to keep going back to. Fitts’s work is a celebration of emancipation that is intimate and tender.” And, according to Peggy Miller, Performing Arts columnist, Fitts’s new book ” consists of seventy pages you’ll pick up more than once. Add me to the list of those who anticipate her next volume.” Everyone seems to know her writings, and everyone knows she is a very talented woman.
Fitts and her husband Charles founded Susan Love Fitts Communications. As a freelance writer, her articles have been published in The Houston Chronicle and other Texas newspapers. She recently collaborated with her husband, composer Charles Fitts, on his “String Quartet No. 3 (Hearts Celestial)”, providing the lyrics for the final movement.
A Review of lickin the bones dry
by Angel McLean (SHS)
“licking the bones dry” consists of seventy poems written by Susan Love Fitts. She has dedicated the book to her husband, Charlie Fitts. The poems in the book are all about feelings, life, and trials.. She reveals how she feels about life, her husband, and all the things that go on around her. In the preface, Fitts says, “There is a theme that runs through many of my poems. It is the self in search of its natural state, unencumbered of the masks we collect in order to survive the expectations of others and ourselves in this place where we live.”
Almost all of the poems in the book are poems that everyone can relate to. Fitts talks about real life adventures and basically tries to understand all things in life. This book of poems is wonderful. People of all ages will really enjoy it.
by Angel McLean (SHS)
1. Do you feel like you relate to all of your poems in some kind of way?
Yes, I do. I’ve heard it said that everything a writer puts on paper is, in a way, biographical. Not directly all the time, of course, but the ideas, the feelings, the emotions have to come from somewhere. I’m sure there are fiction writers, however, who would disagree with me.
2. How long did it take you to write licking the bones dry?
Just about a year.
3. Do you feel this book is a success?
Yes, I think so. Poetry is not generally “best seller list” material, so I did not expect to sell thousands of copies. I did, however, sell over 500 copies the first few months, and I consider that fairly successful for poetry. The area in which I experienced the greatest amount of success was in my own self actualization. This book has a lot of my soul, blood, sweat and tears in it. There are many poems from my growing years in Natchez. There were happy times, but there were also very sad and lonely moments. Expressing these emotions was a cathartic and cleansing experience. The process left me drained, but at the same time left me fresh and recharged – a sort of “rebirth” I guess you could say.
4. Where did you get the ideas to write this book?
Most of the poems come from experiences in my life. As I mentioned before, many are from my childhood and my experiences growing up in the South. “Alice Arizona” is about my mother and father. Every year on their wedding anniversary, they would tell the story of how they met. It was “love at first sight.” They got married and moved back to my father’s hometown of Natchez. The poem tells the story of their happy years and how my father’s death changed my mother’s life.
5. Who, as an author has influenced you the most?
I would have to say Edgar Allan Poe. I remember as a child reading his poems and being mesmerized by the sounds that came from his writing.
6. What kind of student were you in high school?
I was a good student, for the most part. I seemed to be able to learn things easily.
7. Do you feel you have influenced other by your words?
I think perhaps I’ve helped some of my writer friends overcome the feeling of being intimidated about writing poetry. I am just an average person. They saw what I did – I had poems in me, so I wrote them out. I put them in a book and had them published. I encourage them to write, write, write.
One of the ways I encourage poets is through a program called “Poetry Nite Live!” that I started at a local Barnes & Noble store. Poets in the Houston area come to this monthly poetry program that features a well known poet who reads from his/her work. Then we have an open mic session — anyone can come and read their work. In fact, in February 2003, I am having a fellow Mississippi writer, Paul Ruffin, come in to be our featured poet I believe you have featured him in your program there.
8. Do you have any advice for students today?
Students are so busy these days. I just wish they had a little more time to do more creative activities – like writing something everyday. To just sit down and write – whatever comes to mind, without worrying about spelling or punctuation – a stream of consciousness type of writing. It is a meditative exercise that helps get any garbage that is in your system out on the paper. It can be a very Zen-like experience.
9. Do you have any advice for future writers?
Read. Read everything, from the daily newspaper to the classics. And Write. Write something everyday.
10. How many books do you have published?
“Licking the Bones Dry” is the only book I’ve published. I have another manuscript called “Aphrodite Falling,” but it is not published.
11. How many would you like to have in the future?
Perhaps two more poetry books and another type of book – a handbook for writers on how to unleash their creative powers and abilities.
12. If you could pick another profession, what would it be and why?
I love to cook and think I would have enjoyed being a professional chef. It can be a very creative profession.
13. Some people say being a writer is very stressful, is this true?
I think anything you have a passion for has a certain element of stress. If you are passionate about your art, whatever form it may take, you do it with abandon. You do it because you love it. But it’s still very hard work and that carries with it stress to a certain degree. I was just reading about a ballerina who was passionate about dancing. She wanted to have the lead parts in ballets, and to do this she had to spend hours and hours every day doing exercises and practicing steps and turns. She spent every moment of her life, it seemed, preparing. It is very hard work to be that dedicated. It takes time away from other things like spending time watching TV or going to the mall with friends.
14. If you would, please tell me a little about yourself.
In addition to being a poet, I am a journalist. I have an arts and culture column in a local weekly newspaper in Houston called “The Bulletin.” I write about visual, performing and literary arts in the Greater Houston Area. Also, I have just been contacted by a nationally distributed magazine called “Art-Talk” to do an arts column for them. I will be their Houston correspondent and will write about the art scene in Houston at the galleries and museums. I have a passion for the arts. I think it’s interesting that there are quite a few art critics who are also poets. Perhaps it’s the poetic language that best expresses the nuances of the arts.
I am a correspondent for the Houston Chronicle and write miscellaneous articles for them – personality profiles, business stories, things that are going on in the community that people want to know about. I also freelance for the Houston Business Journal and other regional magazines and publications.
My husband, Charles, is a composer of classical music and has set a number of my poems to music. He set “Sanctus Sestina” (in my book) to music for a small choir. A choir in Mexico City premiered it and selected it to sing for the Choir Olympics in Korea this past October. We were pleased to learn that they received a silver medal for the performance.
15. Did being raised in Mississippi effect you or your writing in any way?
There seems to be a mystique that surrounds Mississippi writers. I remember when I was in high school, my teachers talked about William Faulkner and what a phenomenal writer he was. I tried reading his novels and didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. It was just like reading about ordinary life in my own hometown. And studying him as a person, I thought he was no different than some of the people in my own family. Of course now that I’m much older, I appreciate his genius. And I realize, as well, that living in a Southern town is a unique experience. There is a culture that is unique to the geographical area — just as there is a distinctly different culture on the east coast. I was not able to appreciate the Southern culture I was born to until I had removed myself from it. I would not care to go back and live those years over, but I would like to have lived them the first time with a better understanding how unique and special it was – this growing up in Mississippi.
- Fitts, Susan Love. “licking the bones dry.” Rochester, Washington, 2001.
- “Susan Love Fitts.” Poetry Web Site.<http://www.susanlovefitts.com/reviews.html>
- “Susan Love Fitts.” Poetry Web Site.<http://www.susanlovefitts.com/biography.html>