Thursday, January 6, 2011

My interview with PoetrySpeaks.com

What follows is an informal interview with PoetrySpeaks.com from 2010.


PoetrySpeaks: Why Poetry?

Me: I’m not sure. But just imagine if I snapped my fingers and all the poetry ever written suddenly disappeared from existence. That means beautifully written books, speeches and music lyrics too. Would you want to live in that world? Not me. It would truly be a flat world.



PS: Which of your poems should be on your fan's must-experience list?

Me: Well, poetry is subjective. You might hate what I recommend, or love what I don’t. Just start at the top and work your way down. None of the poems are very long anyway.



PS: Favorite Poem (yours)

Me: I honestly don’t have a favorite poem. However, I kind of feel sorry for (and in turn, have an affection for) my unpublished poem “Dryad Weeping on a Fallen Tree.” It has a quality.



PS: Favorite Poem (other than yours)

Me:The Cap and Bells” by William Butler Yeats



PS: Favorite Poet (other than yourself)

Me: I haven’t read nearly enough poets. I currently like William Blake, W.B. Yeats, Ted Hughes, Arthur Rimbaud and Mary Oliver. I also just discovered Francis Ledwidge.



PS: Favorite Performance (other than your own)

Me: I’ve seen Billy Collins and Mary Oliver perform in Chicago. They were very good. I also really admire some of my poet friends: Bill Robertson, Nicole Manisco, Ruan Wright -- all very talented at the performance level.



PS: What's the best advice you've ever received?

Me: The best advice I ever received is my own: Forget what the academics and scholars say. Write what comes naturally and let regular people decide if it’s good or not.



PS: What advice would you give poets starting out?

Me: Other than reading a lot of poetry, any beginner would do well to affix “show, don’t tell” firmly onto their brains. Then, with experience, they will learn how and when to break this and other such “rules.” Breaking rules often leads to great works of art.



PS: Why are you passionate about poetry?

Me: To be honest, I don’t understand or even like some of the poetry I read. I’m a simple guy. But when a poem does speak to me in that special, profound way, it’s like a butterfly landed on my shoulder. The heart goes pitter-patter. It’s a great feeling. It’s an addictive feeling.



PS: How did you discover poetry?

Me: My first memory of poetry is from the fourth grade. We had to write a short poem and mine was about a catbird. I no longer have the poem, but I do remember how it goes:

The catbird is a strange bird
When it sings, it sings a word
Meow, it sings
Meow, it sings
Recognize that?
It’s the sound of a cat!




PS: How did you first fall in love with poetry?

Me: I wouldn’t say that I’m in love with poetry. Rather, I just sort of fell into a symbiotic relationship with it.



PS: What is the best way to read a poem?

Me: The best way? Read the poem out loud to a loved one, e.g., a sibling, spouse, child or friend. It’s fun, romantic, and makes a lasting impression that way.



PS: Any messages to your fans?

Me: I’m poor. If you like my poetry then put me in your will!



PS: Any upcoming events?

Me: Hmm, because of anxiety issues I no longer do poetry readings or any type of event that requires being in front of a crowd. Maybe one day I’ll get over it.



PS: Thank you for your time.

Me: Thank you!

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