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Terri Ford

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By Allyson Jacob · December 17th, 2003 · Where Are They Now?
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Then: In 1995, Terri Ford was a large part of a small Cincinnati poetry scene. She was co-coordinator of the York St. International Café's poetry readings and, as a poet herself, firmly believed that everyone, skilled or not, could be moved by and respond to poetry just by attending a reading. "Believe me," Ford said then, "if you sat during an evening of open mic poetry you would know something about poetry. You would know what you respond to. Even if you didn't have judgment ideas on what was good, you would know what you liked." (Issue of Dec. 7, 1995)

Now: Ford still knows what she likes, but her life has a different landscape now. Ford moved to Minneapolis in June, marking a return to the area where she was raised -- "a homecoming," she calls it. Though she misses her collaborators in Cincinnati, she's happy to be with family again.

Ford's poetry has taken off. "My first book of poems, Why the Ships Are She, came out in the spring of 2001," she says. Then: In 1995, Terri Ford was a large part of a small Cincinnati poetry scene. She was co-coordinator of the York St. International Café's poetry readings and, as a poet herself, firmly believed that everyone, skilled or not, could be moved by and respond to poetry just by attending a reading. "Believe me," Ford said then, "if you sat during an evening of open mic poetry you would know something about poetry. You would know what you respond to. ... Even if you didn't have judgment ideas on what was good, you would know what you liked." (Issue of Dec. 7, 1995)

Now: Ford still knows what she likes, but her life has a different landscape now. Ford moved to Minneapolis in June, marking a return to the area where she was raised -- "a homecoming," she calls it. Though she misses her collaborators in Cincinnati, she's happy to be with family again.

Ford's poetry has taken off. "My first book of poems, Why the Ships Are She, came out in the spring of 2001," she says. "My poetry career has been a thorough blessing and has buoyed me through the rest of my life since 1995." Ford is also working on the manuscript for her second book of poems.

Like many artists who leave Cincinnati for different waters, Ford credits the poetry scene here with giving her a strong foundation for the future while still allowing her to be an individual. "It was terrific to 'grow up' as an artist in Cincinnati," Ford reminisces. "I was far from sure of myself when I began, and I ran two different poetry reading series in the Cincinnati area -- first at Café Vienna in Mount Adams and then at York Street in Newport. That turned out to be a great way to educate and involve myself in what was alive in the local poetry scene, what mattered to me, what I thought quality was."

Though she's had some success as a poet, Ford hasn't lost the self-depricating quality that seems to be woven in the fibers of many creative types. "(A friend) seemed astounded upon being told that I had moved to Minneapolis," Ford says. "He said to me, 'Wow! You're going to be changing the face of Minnesota poetry!' " She replied, "Well, maybe changing the lipstick on the face of Minnesota poetry...."



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