I am definitely a Tennessee girl. I spent most of my childhood in Clarksville, attended high school in Knoxville, graduated with a BSN from the University of Tennessee, and then moved on to the Nashville/Franklin areas to work and start a family.
I have enjoyed being both a pediatric nurse and a professional clown (aka “Clancy”). Yes, I actually worked on the weekends as a clown for birthday parties and store promos. (Hey, there was always free cake!) Still, the most amazing job I have ever had is being a mother to three fantastic kids. They keep me young at heart and keep me moving. They were also the first people to see me as a poet and I am forever grateful.
One of our favorite things to do together was to read— especially poetry. The things we read inspired me. I began writing songs and poems for my children when they were very little and I’m still scribbling lines today. We liked to revisit familiar verse and learn the words by heart. That’s something I have always loved about books: the words are always there, they never change or move around. Regardless of how crazy things may get—you can always pick up a book and find your place again.
As a mother of teenagers, I became a student at the Writer’s Loft Program at Middle TN State University. There, I began to focus on completing a collection of poems for children. I also decided to try my hand at writing concrete verse and jumped feet first into researching the avant-garde poetry from the 50's and 60's. Immediately, I was fascinated with the visual footprint of the text art pieces by poets like Mary Ellen Solt and Eugen Gromringer. As I followed this fascinating visual trail, I came up with the idea to adapt, or reinterpret famous classic verse into a concrete poetry form. I am currently working to complete this collection of adaptations for children and adults and promise to post some soon. Whether by transforming a single letter, word, or the entire shape of the poem, these poems reintroduce classic verse with a twist. Who knows? Maybe they will appeal to those normally averse to verse?
I have also enjoyed creating original visual poetry and am working on two collections. One explores the wonders of nature and the other deals with the idiosyncrasies of words and language. Watch for more soon I hope! Thanks for stopping by and I would really like to know what you think!
If you have any questions about the site content or just want to connect , you can reach me by email Kelly@kellybills.com or by phone at (615) 221-9830.
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