An Interview with David Wheeler

Last week, I posted an article here about reading poetry while waiting in line to vote. The poetry in question was Contingency Plans: Poems by David Wheeler. Today over at The High Calling is an interview with David about his poetry and writing. Below is some information from the interview about his background and upbringing.

David, tell us a little about yourself. We know you spent part of your life in Idaho and you currently live in the state of Washington. Where do you consider home?

Home is Idaho. If there’s one place I feel calmest, most relaxed, it is at the house I grew up in, with my folks. I do my best to shuck the portrayal of my generation as extensions of adolescence; I do everything I can to appear mature and composed and erudite, but really I’m such a homebody. Bellingham will always be special, and I love living in Seattle, but (you catch me right around the holidays) northern Idaho is home.

Educational background?

A Christian school is where I spent most of grammar school and high school, so when I announced I would be attending Western Washington University for my undergrad, I got some raised eyebrows. One person even mentioned the “culture shock” I would encounter from my conservative roots, moving into a more liberal school with a lingering, outlandish reputation from earlier decades. Western’s a great university, though. I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything; the Creative Writing department has some outstanding faculty I had the privilege of studying under–Oliver de la Paz, for one, who taught me how to write form poetry, to whom I am eternally grateful–and I won’t be surprised when you start hearing of more writers come from that program. The quality of work we crafted (and is still crafted there) is stunning.

Tell us a bit about your music.

Music has been a part of me since I was very young, taking piano lessons. Mostly classically trained, once I started playing with other musicians at church and in college, I had a whole world of improvisational technique open up to me. On top of that, it gave me a new way to write. In fact, I grew so much over four years at college, I ended up having the material to record a full-length album: so I did. One friend of mine is a budding producer, and another is a fantastic graphic designer–and both musicians–so I conned them into working with me, along with a handful of other musicians. We spent entire days this summer in a basement-cum-studio, just hammering out parts; now its in this nebulous post-production phase, where my producer is polishing up the tracks. I hope it’s out sometime early next year.

The album is called “There, There,” and I landed on the title after a lot of consideration. A lot of the songs are spun of this melancholy fabric I seem to have stored up somewhere. (My life’s not that bad! Not bad, at all, really. I promise.) The title is supposed to reflect a sort of consolatory thread throughout the songs. Even though my life might be fine, I know others whose are a bit dicier, and so I think in my music and my other forms of writing, I like to dig deep into heartache because it’s so familiar to all of us, for myriad reasons. And sometimes there isn’t anything to do to allay the grief, but hunker down together in it.


Interview at The High Calling.

Q&A at Faith, Fiction, Friends.

Review of Contingency Plans at Faith, Fiction, Friends.

Photo display and prompt for Contingency Plans at Three from Here and There.


  1. says

    I think it’s so cool that David is also a musician. I know it seems like poetry and lyric-writing should automatically be partners. But I’m no good at lyrics, just poetry. :)

    Idaho. Cool. I didn’t know that. :)

  2. says

    So…I finally made it over here after several hours of *stuff* and I am pleased to hear David say that he tries to be “mature”. Isn’t that what I said over at the HC? David, you make your generation look good. :) I can’t wait to hear some of your music! Is there a way to hear some now?


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