Introducing Terry Belew
December 10, 2022
Today’s team member spotlight is on Terry Belew. Terry is currently in the midst of getting his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha which is where I first met him. Unlike many of the folks on our team who have been with us since the inception of the journal, Terry came to us this past spring when he volunteered to read for our 2022 HoneyBee Prize (our 8th issue).
We’re extremely grateful that he decided to stick around for more TGLR shenanigans and are delighted to announce that he is now an editor on our Poetry Team. In fact, Terry eagerly offered to play a more active role on the team and is not only organizing and facilitating meetings for his team, but also assisting with marketing campaigns and coming up with fundraising ideas. Over the last six months I feel like I’ve gotten a good sense for who he is but wanted to take this opportunity to share a little more about him and his writing life with our readers. I asked Terry a number of questions, beginning with where he first discovered a love for writing and poetry.
I started to enjoy writing in elementary school when we were asked to illustrate and narrate children’s books. I became interested in poetry in high school after reading William Blake and Chaucer. Poetry really piqued my interest when I was a student at Missouri State and that’s when I took an introductory workshop class with my mentor and friend, Sara Burge.
I then asked what prompted him to pursue an MFA.
One of the primary reasons I am pursuing an MFA, other than to write more and work with accomplished writers on improving my writing, is to help build my literary community. The literary community, at times, seems quite large. Still, we really are a small portion of the population and the more we can interact with one another and learn from one another, the better off the literary community will be.
I then asked some of the same questions we’ve asked our contributing authors over the past year including what the most difficult and satisfying parts of the artistic process are.
Right now, one of the most difficult parts is generating new material. At times, new material comes forth on a daily basis and I need to do a better job of making more time to write, but right now trying to generate new content is a struggle.
As for something satisfying it would be reading poems to my wife, who is a non-writer, and her being moved by them. I also am thankful for her listening to a poem over and over again, even though I might have changed three words or re-lineated and expect the poem to be better.
He also shared that his desire to write comes from simple observation and a love of manipulating language which I relate to and appreciate. I then asked Terry if he has any projects he is working on and/or recent or upcoming publications to share.
I recently “completed” my first book-length manuscript and have been submitting to book contests. I’ll continue to add and subtract content until it one day hopefully finds a publisher willing to take it in.
I’ve also had a few poems published in the last year or so, in West Trade Review, Solar, The American Journal of Poetry, Book of Matches and Split Rock Review, and in print in Storm Cellar. I try to keep submissions out, especially during the academic year, so hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to have a couple more forthcoming by the end of the year.
Amazing poems and that’s quite a lot for such a short time! Congratulations!! When I see this list and read the poems, it definitely makes me think he is making the most of this one precious Good Life. It definitely made me curious for his answer to what he thinks about when he hears the phrase “The Good Life.”
I’m not well-traveled, so the first time I went to Nebraska for my first residency and saw one of their mottos is “The Good Life” that’s my natural association. Having worked on The Good Life Review for a couple of months now, that’s also another natural association.
When I think of “The Good Life” as a kind of situation, I think of living in the Midwest—as backward as some things are, I really enjoy the ability to live in nature and to have access to it constantly.
Terry.. Thank you for being on the team and for being so willing to sacrifice your time and effort on making our journal and organization a success. And also for being open to this little Q&A. I hope you stick with us for a long time!!
PS. More about all of our TGLR editors is available on our Masthead.