Your day job is as a data analyst. How do you reconcile the analytical mindset with the poetic mindset?

I haven’t found them to be in conflict. I often approach poems inspirationally to begin with, but the editing and revision process is very analytical, and the rigor and clarity of thought that I’ve developed in my work help me there. At the same time, I’ve found that writing poetry has improved my general communication skills a lot, and that helps me in my job.

Many people aren’t aware of the nuances of different ways of saying things, or don’t have large enough vocabularies to be able to make effective choices. As a poet, these are indispensable skills. But actually, these skills are useful in any kind of job where you have to communicate with other people. No matter how dry and factual the information you’re putting across, there is emotional content, and it’s very easy to change that or shade it by using different words.

A searing wind. A trembling leaf
that whispers a destruction psalm.
A roaring like a distant train,
the stealthy footfall of a thief,
the stirring of a weathervane,
a flake of ash falls on your palm.

You saw it on the news: the palms
in silhouette, with upraised leaves
like hands that prayed, but all in vain.
The flames spelled out destruction psalms
across the hills. They ran like thieves
in scarlet, fast as midnight trains.