Trent Busch grew up in rural West Virginia and has lived in Georgia. He owns a small place out in the country where he has a workshop and builds furniture. He makes coffee tables, night tables, chests of drawers, and other items for the house from such woods as oak, walnut, cherry, and maple.
His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Nation, Threepenny Review, North American Review, Chicago Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, New England Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Northwest Review, Kenyon Review, American Scholar, Shenandoah, and more recently in Notre Dame Review, Evansville Review, Agni Online, Boston Review, Sou’wester, Poetry Daily, Natural Bridge, and The Hudson Review.
He spoke to Mount Hope’s poetry editor, Lauren Calabrese, about his work and its genesis.
“I have a shop out back and my best friends were there. You know the table saw, joiner, lathe, the hacksaw, even that whimsical shop vac. They don’t often talk back out there except when it’s my fault generally. They decide to bop me in the head or slice my arm or leg or cut off my arm or fingers, which I’ve done. I mean, they can be very dangerous but naturally, they’re my friends, too. And they have their own complaints. They seldom talk to anyone unless he or she gets close to them. And the truth is they have some remarkable secrets and unusual points of view as tools. And they’re surmising that I get my problems about woodworking. So that’s just how it goes in with poetry and how poems come out of that union. It’s a lonely business, but then writing is a lonely business. It kind of fascinates me that they can get into my head and talk to me. It’s almost as if each one of these things, they have a story.
“I have many types of poems of course. I don’t write just exclusively about the woodshop or anything. In fact, that’s fairly a reason in my life. I was not a woodworker. But I became one and then it just somehow seemed a little bit like an avenue for writing some more poems. The book which I’m finishing up is called Plum, Level, and Square. It hasn’t been published yet. But the other book that has been published is called Not One Bit Of This Is Your Fault. And every poem meant is about a woman. So you can see the difference in this other book every poem meant is about woodworking. And it is safe to say, not one bit of the fault of any person, especially women, can be construed to them. And all the women in this book, though they have problems, of course, they’re admirable to me, just as my finished product. Like another which I made for my daughter too, a Cedar Chest. I made all of her beds as she grew up, and I made night lights and just all kinds of things.
“But the connection with poetry has been through these other avenues. I didn’t study poetry in college. I didn’t know anything about–– well, I loved poetry in college but I never studied anything there and that’s why I was writing poetry. This all came later on, when, after I got my doctorate. That’s when I really started to write poems.”