ABP- Hello Thasia, thank you for taking this interview. You have an ABP record eight solo publications with us, not to mention all of the anthologies you have been a part of; anybody familiar with ABP has very likely read some of your work.
Your first book with us was published back in February of 2018, titled The Past is Calling. What can you tell us about that collection? How does it differ from your newer work?
TA– That is amazing, I have certainly loved working with you.
With “The Past is Calling” I delved into my past traumas. I have always claimed poetry saved me! Writing has always felt like cleaning house, and with that collection which has three sections. Section One; My young adulthood in a violent unhealthy marriage. Section two; is about my oldest son, who passed away in a car accident in 1999. He left behind two young sons. The majority that poetry is the relationship I tried to forge with his children. Lastly so that everyone wasn’t left reeling in sadness. I concentrated on a fun romantic relationship that I had.
I still have my traumas to move through, but, writing it out seems to be bringing more positive pieces now. My work feels lighter and brighter currently.
ABP- Can you tell us about some of your other collections?
TA -“Broken Branches” was a concentration of childhood memories and feelings.
“Poetography” was my favorite project collaborating with our son Ronald Tregaskis, and our grandson Cullen Tregaskis. They are wonderful photographers, and they were showing me their latest photos and immediately poetry started pouring out of my head. I was so excited that the Ekphrastic project was excepted by this press. That book is even carried by Romulo’s a local coffee house and chocolatier. They are a common stop for people headed to the beach here. They felt it was a great choice for vacationers to read at Presque Isle beaches.
“Pam’s Jacket” was based on my trip to Florida for our son Alan’s wedding. I was going to be around my ex, and there is still deep trauma hiding under the surface. So my friend Pam lent me her beautiful colorful jacket to wear as armor. The jacket and I had a great time!
“Still Standin” was born from the loss of my brother December 2020. A lot of realities slammed into my psyche. Our parents were gone, my only sibling was gone, and even my oldest son. And here I was STILL STANDIN!
Alien Buddha Press allowed me to see a dream come true. The publishing of two novels. “Horse Sense” and “Check Mates”.
Horse Sense covers the story of a strong woman survivor of abuse bringing her dreams to fruition with a horse rescue ranch. She hires the ultimate cowhand and together they bring Shadeland Farms back to life.
“Check Mates” is loosely based on the premise behind the reality show “Cheaters”. A beautiful kind emergency room nurse realizes her fiancé is cheating. She hires “Check Mates” to uncover his bad deeds. Eventually due to circumstances she finds herself having feelings for the shows handsome host.
Subtle Shade of Bruise is a very important work. I have taken my trauma, victimization, and survival into a guide of sorts. It allows other s in abusive relationships to recognize themselves, and decide to make changes safely. The book has phone numbers for national hotlines that can offer safety advice and help. I am proud that I have gone from simply a survivor to THRIVER.
ABP- Are you working on anything new?
TA- Well I am excited to announce that I have been included as one of fifteen women in an anthology entitled; Women of Courage V. published by Linda Ellis Eastman from the Professional Woman Network. This collection is due at the end of February 2022.
I have also been included in Pratik a magazine of contemporary writing, edited by Yuyutsu Sharma. This is a unique collection of poets from cities that Yuyutsu fell in love with. He has included eleven poets from Erie Pa. I feel very honored to be in the presence of phenomenal poets from all over the world.
I have been begun putting together another Ekphrastic photography collaboration. Some of my friends are phenomenal photographers. Poets; Jay Min, and Jason Baldinger, an Erie fisherman Dan Graziano along with my friend Maribeth McCarthy.
ABP- Who is your favorite writer? What is your favorite book?
TA- I believe that I knew I was a poet, when reading ” I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”. Maya Angelou was a poetic angel. One regret I have, is that I never really tried to meet her. When you have a need in your heart like that, do not tell yourself “next year”. Make the time and try.
ABP- The poetry scene in Erie PA has always been a good one. How are things over there lately?
TA- Slowly but surely we are coming back out! Mabel Howard is hosting a Friday night event at 1020 Collective. She calls it; Express Yourself with Miss Mabeline.
Last September I organized and was hostess for an Erie PA. version of 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Local poets that participated with me were our new Erie County Poet Laureate Sean Thomas Dougherty, former Erie County Poet Laureate Chuck Joy, Ohio Beat Poet Laureate John Burroughs, Matt Borczon, Mabel Howard poetry hostess for Fridays, Bigg Wash who was the host for the entire Erie Blues and Jazz Festival, and Kim Noyes accompanied by Tom Webber for a musical experience.
I am working on the 2022 version of WOW or Women of Word with a few Man Made Words. This is season eleven which will be held at PACA. Performing Artists Collective Alliance at 1505 State Street, Erie PA. Every year we have a social work theme. The performances are based on poetry woven into conversations on tough subjects. Examples; homelessness, domestic violence, PTSD, racism, suicide and many more. We help the audience expand their thinking.
We plan to live stream, so that it can be enjoyed and experienced anywhere. The date is yet to be decided, it will be this summer. Participants will be; since the beginning; Heidi Blakeslee, Darryl Brown, Luchetta Manus, Matt Borczon, and long time Barbara Crone, Mark Valentine, Elyse Palmer, and brand new Lisa Stahlbaum. Singer song writer Gisele Littrell, and dance troop headed up by Christina Maria from Sovereign Ballet. This program has grown substantially, and now to be able to see us from anywhere makes me say WOW!
ABP– Can you share a poem with us?
TA- Due to the extreme temperatures we have been experiencing, I recently wrote
Brittle, brutal temperatures crept in like danger in the deep darkness while we slept and dreamt of the sun
Our summers are so sweet
Warmth soothes and
Beach days and
stunning sun sets
keep me here
In my youth
cross country skis
of quiet wood
or the near
soundlessness of the cat
tracking along behind me
It was my
winter keeps me
my warm Cape Cod
at the temps
diamond studded snow
ABP– Thank you again for taking the time to be a part of this feature. If there is anything else at all that we didn’t cover, and you’d like to share, please do.\
TA- In 2020 I was in the final four for Erie County Poet Laureate, and I love my friend Sean Thomas Dougherty who received the honor.
I have always been so appreciative of you Red, for seeing what a lot of other publishers did not. I thank you and Alien Buddha Press for so many excitin, creative opportunities. I certainly hope to continue exploring words and wisdom with you and ABP.