Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
writes on his Amazon profile
“I was born in York, PA and attended Temple University. I have been writing my entire life but didn’t begin to submit my life’s work of duffel bags brimming with 20 years worth of notebooks for publication until age 34 (4 years ago). Since then I have been published in over 450 various print and online journals throughout the world and have been a guest reader at many international events as well as the Featured Reader in many cities in the U.S. In July 2018 I will be dong a reading with Heller Levinson (a Pulitzer Prize Nominee) along with 5 other stellar poets. This reading will be my ultimate honor. I am the author of three chapbooks “A Curmudgeon Is Born” (Yellow Chair Press 2016), “Digging for Fire” (Stay Weird and Keep Writing Press 2016), “Your Noisy Eyes” (Stay Weird and Keep Writing Press 2017) as well as two full-length collections “About Consciousness” (Alien Buddha Press 2017) and “To Burn in Torturous Algorithms” (Weasel Press 2018), with 3 other full-length collections forthcoming. I have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominations and my work has been translated and published in 5 other languages. I am the co-poetry editor of Into the Void Magazine, which won the 2017 Saboteur Award for Best Magazine after only 4 issues–a feat no other magazine has ever accomplished before. I was the judge for Into the Void Magazine’s 2016 Poetry Competition and also edited the anthology “Luminous Echoes,” the proceeds of which will be donated to help with the prevention of suicide/self-harm.?”
1. What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
I’ve never been able to answer that question. I’ve found notebooks as far back as the 2nd grade with short stories, poetry, drawings in them. Writing was something that I have always loved to do. I suppose I’ve been writing ever since I learned how to write. Writing, in general, has just always been a part of my life.
2 Who introduced you to poetry?
I can’t really answer that concretely either. I guess I could say my grandmother, who passed away when I was less than a year old. As a little kid/teenager I remember sneaking down into a room in the basement that was filed from floor to ceiling with old books and smuggling some of them up to my room. I use the word “smuggling” because I didn’t want anyone to know I read outside of school until my early 20s, and I especially didn’t want anyone to know that I wrote, which I hid from everyone until the age of 34, if you can believe it. I remember finding Edgar Allan Poe books and various compilations of poetry in this room that I would read, although at that time (my early teens) I was more into reading the novels I found there. I did discover “Howl” in an anthology and used to have “The Raven” memorized from start to finish from one of the Poe books. The reason I say my grandmother was the one who introduced me to poetry was due to the fact that many of these books were hers and had her name written inside most of them.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets ?
I didn’t really have to deal with that since I didn’t begin to submit my “life’s work” of duffel bags filled with writing until a little over 4 years ago at age 34. I’m always saying that I’m 20 years late to the party. Ha!
4. What is your daily writing routine
There are times, like during a submission period for Into the Void Magazine, where I’ll switch my sleeping pattern so that I sleep 8 hours once every 3 days and nights. I know this sounds crazy and everyone gives me hell over it, but once you’ve adapted to it, it actually works really well. This whole idea that people need 8 entire hours of sleep a night is really not True, in my opinion at least. People end up sleeping their lives away like this. So, I can’t really say I have a writing “routine.” I usually reserve the nights for my own writing/copying up the uncountable poems and other writings in my plethora of notebooks.
5. What motivates you to write?
When that inspiration hits, I WILL allow the ton of other things I told people I’d do for them to fall by the wayside. That’s NOT counting reading submissions for Into the Void Magazine—that’s the one and only exception to this rule. When I feel that wave of inspiration hit, I like to ride it for as long as I possibly can
6. What is your work ethic?
I guess I kind of answered that one in the last 2 questions. For instance, right now I owe 38 people book reviews, am in the process of making the final decisions of what poems are going to make it into the next issue of Into the Void Magazine, plus a million other things—only a few of which are coming to mind right now. Not to sound pompous, but I would say I have an extremely strong work ethic.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
Most likely in more ways than I give them credit for. I always liked to think I was taking my own route in my notebooks but I’m sure that writers like Kerouac and Burroughs found their way in through my subconsciousness at least some of the time.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I always say that’s a 3-way tie between Heller Levinson, Felino A. Soriano, and Alan Britt. If anyone reading this is not familiar with their work I would highly recommend checking it out. These are the 3 contemporary poets that your grandchildren will be reading in textbooks right next to Whitman and Cummings.
9. Why do you write?
This is a question I’ve never been able to fully answer. I’ve just always had the need to write. As I said in a previous answer, I’ve found a notebook with writing in it as far back as the 2nd grade. I do know that it’s a great catharsis for me. I guess it’s something I’ve always needed to do on some kind of subconscious level. Writing has always been a part of my life.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I would tell them that I don’t really think anyone “becomes” a writer. I would say that when you’re born you’re either a writer or you’re not a writer. There are a lot of imitative writers out there, but I can’t speak for them.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
Well, I’m currently typing up and editing 17 of the 88 books I’ve written over my life and am at various stages of completion with them. On top of that, there’s several new books that I’ve begun writing but none of them are really close to being done or fully edited. 2 of the newer books are books that have been written completely on the computer, which is something new for me. As far as forthcoming books, I have 2. “This is the Past” is due to be published by Between These Shores Books and “Tangential Dithyrambs” is due to be published by Concrete Mist Press.
Thank you for taking the time to let me spout a little bit about my life. It’s much appreciated.