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Poet Profile: Greg Beatty

Welcome to our fifth poet profile! This time we look at Greg Beatty and his winning poem Burning a Witch which was read by Hardy Bucks actor, Michael Browne. His poem is the fifth track on the 11 Whispers album. Greg lives in Bellingham, Washington, where he spends most of his energy fulfilling the needs of his senior pit bull, Drake. When he’s not walking Drake in the rain, he plays with his grandkids, writes, and teaches college. Here's his poem:

Burning a Witch

Burning a witch

is always a waste

of time, wood, witch.

Burning a witch

proves she is not

a witch, but pure.

Burn a witch and

the flames dance.

She might scream,

harmonizing the heat,

but she will not burn.

Witches always already

burn, with magic,

knowledge, desire, will.

So do not waste your wood

or incinerate the innocent.

What makes you tick?

A range of things make me tick, and they often clash. On the one hand, I feel a continual need to create, and so poems, jokes, stories, and essays pour out of me all the time. On the other hand, I have lived my whole life with a crippling and abject level of self-doubt, even self-loathing. So, I create all the time, and doubt that act continually.

What inspires you?

Oh, shoot. I dream my stories. I respond to things written by others. I pay attention to the people and dogs I meet. I see a design and try to work it into a children’s picture book. I hate myself and look for a way to hide it.

Any plans for the future?

I am always writing. Always. I recently self-published/republished some of my older stories. You can find those here: But yes, I’m always writing. Since I specialize in short works, I might write a piece a week (a poem, a work of flash fiction, a short story). So, there’s always something in the pipeline.

Any advice for writers, Greg?

Don’t assume you know yourself. I say this because some of my greatest breakthroughs in writing came when I tried something that was a) new, and b) seemed ridiculous. For example, an instructor at a writing workshop assigned a two page story as an exercise. That seemed too short to be worthwhile… and it really worked for me, as I’ve written many works of flash fiction since. So, try things. Read widely. Experiment. And, always, pay attention.

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