The Most Important Job

An interview with
Linda Knaus
 
Linda Knaus was born in Duluth, Minnesota, on October 1, 1961. She is married to an aerospace engineer and has two children. Her son, Kevin, is 18 years old and her step-daughter, Viktoria, is 13. They have four cats: Oskar, Oliver, Leo, and Boo. Aside from poetry, she has her own greeting card line called HoneyPot and has recently completed her first young-adult novel. She also enjoys reading, cooking, knitting, and traveling. She’s been to Iceland twice and is learning to speak the language. Her work has appeared in nearly all of the Meadowbrook Press poetry anthologies, including Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, A Bad Case of the Giggles, Miles of Smiles, If Kids Ruled the School, Rolling in the Aisles, My Teacher's In Detention, and more.

 

Q: What first got you interested in poetry?

LK: My kindergarten teacher wrote on my report card, "She loves rhymes and poetry." I think I was probably born with an inclination for it. Rhythm and rhyme are like music to me, and the children’s books I like best are the rhyming ones. While reading some of these to my son when he was little, I felt certain that I could write my own, and eventually I did.

When did you start writing poetry?

LK: I fooled around with poetry briefly when I was twelve and again in my early twenties. I didn't begin writing professionally until 1991, when I was 30 years old.

Where do you get ideas for poems?

LK:The best ideas come from those situations to which everyone can relate. I try to take those situations as far outside of the ordinary perspective as possible.

Of all the poems you’ve written, what’s your favorite?

LK:No Pets Allowed (Just Say No) has been the most popular, but There Was A Young Woman and Excuse My Son’s Absence are two of my personal favorites.

Q: Who are your favorite poets?

LK:I have many, but Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, and Shel Silverstein are my top three.

Q: How many books have you written/appeared in?

LK: My poems have appeared in about a dozen anthologies, three board books by LeapFrog, and a couple of children's magazines. I've also written several children's stories. One of them, entitled Mitchell Twitchell, recently took first place in the Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial writing competition in Australia for best picture book. I have appeared in Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, A Bad Case of the Giggles, Miles of Smiles, If Kids Ruled the School, Rolling in the Aisles, and My Teacher's In Detention.

Q: What’s your most recent poem/poetry book?

LK: My most recent poetry book is called, Mrs. Pringle's Jolly Jingles. It is published by Hands Up Books, and contains 74 of my best poems. My son, Kevin, and I did the illustrations.

Q: What are you working on now?

LK: Right now I'm working very hard at trying to find the right publisher for Mitchell Twitchell and my young adult novel, The Craft of the Wise.

Q: Is there any other question that kids often ask you?

LK: I am often asked if it is a good idea to become a poet. Since most of my work is unpublished, I had often wondered that myself. Then I received a letter from a mother in India who wrote, “You cheered up my sick child today,” and it felt like the most important job in the world.

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