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An Interview with Torrey Malek, author of Glory Hill

malek

Torrey Francis Malek is an American poet hailing from Greenville, Delaware. He was the Poet Laureate for the Valley Forge Military Academy his sophomore year and was later a featured poet for the Shortlist of the Letter Review Prize for Poetry in 2023. He has published works in the Red Wolf Periodical, Hive Avenue Literary Journal, and is a frequent contributor to the Plants & Poetry Journal. Glory Hill is Torrey’s first published work of poetry.


What inspired you to start writing this book?

Growing up in the woodlands of northern Delaware, I felt a deep connection with the forest. I spent many of my summers exploring on my own, or with my sister out there. Part of me feels as though this wonderment still drives some hidden part in me, some primal desire to reclaim the diminished joy that once led me out the door and into those adventures. There is a hidden connection between such memories and the experiences themselves that resonates within all of us. By sharing my story, I hope that I can help others reconnect with that same secret joy we all are inherently pursuing, while also revealing a bit of my personal tale to the world.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

I decided to revisit some of the works of my favorite American poets during the conceptualization period of this book, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. Additionally, I decided to return to my favorite collection of essays on natural living within Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Some of my favorite and more modern poets I’ve been re-reading in preparation of this work are Billy Collins, Ted Kooser and Mary Oliver, whose styles and themes are certainly an influence on this specific work.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

In my thirty-plus years I’ve worked in a wide variety of professions, from real estate, event planning, restaurant management, marketing, advertising and now the finance industry. I am lucky to have had a variety of experiences and professions to shape a unique perspective for my writing.

Funnily enough, my love of poetry and verse formed from a deep appreciation of rap and hip-hop music in my high school years. I even rapped and made music for a time. I feel as though it came from a love of similes, metaphors, and the musical marriage of poetry and rhythm, which then led me to pursue a deeper understanding of verse and poetic theory. I am thankful for all the friends and family who put up with and supported me during this awkward but enjoyable phase of expressive exploration in my life!

Do you have any writing rituals?

On the days I can afford the time to write (and always after enjoying a cup of coffee), I’ll start by going for a walk in the woods behind my home, or I will try to head out to a nearby hiking trail where I can enjoy a bit of sunlight while gathering some headspace.

From there I’ll make my way to a local coffee shop where I can nestle in for a few hours and reflect on some of the ideas that may have begun brewing on my morning journey. It’s then a method of moving the ideas from my mind onto my computer, where I then print it out, line edit by pen, and then bring the scratched up work back to the computer once more in a spinning cycle of revision.

No poem is ever truly finished growing so long as its writer returns to it repeatedly, so it’s a matter of repetition with this process until I am fully familiar and fulfilled by the final work.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

My perfect reader is someone like me, who pines for a connection to their childhood and holds an appreciation for the simple joys of nature. Our connection to nature is unique and inimitable. Our ability to reflect on the past is similarly exceptional. I hope that the stories and recollections I portray through Glory Hill spark the same curiosities that seem to hibernate longer within us as we age. Perhaps my perspective will bring back some of those memories for my readers as well? That’s at least what I hope.

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