Amber Tamblyn on Her Poetry, Her Family, and Her Creative Journey

Photo by Jerry Avenaim

Some might say that Amber Tamblyn was born to be an entertainer.

Her father is veteran actor-dancer Russ Tambllyn. Her mother is a singer and a teacher, and her grandfather was in vaudeville.

From the age of 12, when she joined the cast of TV’s “General Hospital,” Amber Tamblyn’s talent has made her a popular and award-winning actress. But she is also well known for her writing, especially her poetry.

Get your copy of Amber Tamblyn’s book

She has actually published seven books, including the 2009 collection Bang Ditto. It was while she was on tour promoting that book that i had a chance to meet her – and to hear what really matters to her in her creative life.

Amber Tamblyn will be 41 in May. Her latest movie role was in “You Hurt My Feelings” in 2023.

So here now, from 2009, Amber Tamblyn.

Caroline Kennedy

From a very early age, Caroline Kennedy was taught to appreciate the beauty and power of poetry.

No surprise, really. Her parents were both very well red. Her father was a famous author, her mother was an author handbook editor.

Of they were better known, perhaps, as President John F Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

One of their enduring legacies to their children was a love of literature. So, no surprise, in 2011, Caroline Kennedy published a poetry anthology.

It was not the first time I had met and interviewed Caroline Kennedy, but it was the first time that we talked about something as personal and meaningful as poetry. Especially since both of us had recently passed the half-century mark.

So here now, from 2011, Caroline Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy is 63 now.

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Ally Sheedy

Photo: Bridget Laudien

In the 1980s movies like The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, WarGames, and Short Circuit made Ally Sheedy a star. She was a prominent member of the so-called Brat Pack.

I met her in 1991 when, at age 28, she had just published a collection of her poetry. Many of the poems in her book dated back to her teenage years. But as she remionded me, it’s not like she was new to writing, or publishing.

So here now, from 1991, Ally Sheedy.

Ally Sheedy is 58 now. She was most recently seen in 2016’s X Men: Apocalypse. But her 1991 book Yesterday I Saw the Sun was the last book she’s published.

Maya Angelou

Few poets ever rise to the kind of prominence enjoyed by Maya Angelou. But of course, she was much more than a poet — essayist, memoirist, and civil rights activist. And not a bad singer, as you’ll hear in a few minutes.

Maya Angelou with Bill Thompson 1993

She worked with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton. I met her a few months later.

Here now, from October 1993, Maya Angelou.

In 2013, Maya Angelou published the seventh volume of her autobiography.

She died in 2014, at age 86.