Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Dan Raphael

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers 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.

Dan Raphael

Raphael, Poet
6735 se 78th    Portland OR 97206      danraphaelpoet@gmail.com

Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid [Last Word Books, Olympia WA, ‘16]
The State I’m In [Nine Muses, Winston OR, ‘12]
Impulse and Warp:  The Selected 20th Century Poems  [Wordcraft of Oregon,
LaGrande, ‘10]
Bop Grit Storm Café [Xexoxial Editions, West Lima WI, ‘08]
Breath Test (Nine Muses, Winston OR, ’06)
Showing Light a Good time (Jazz Police Books, LaGrande OR, ‘01)
Children of the Blue Supermarket, CD with Rich Halley (sax) & Carson Halley
(drums). [Pine Eagle Music, Portland, ‘11]
Plus 12 earlier collections from 8 different presses

Magazines, Web Sites and Anthologies
Caliban,   Exquisite Corpse,   Central Park,   Nebula Awards 31,   Big Bridge,
Raven Chronicles,   Tinfish,    Otoliths,   Rattapallax,   Unlikely Stories,    Basalt,
The Temple,   Hubbub,   Make it True,   Cordite,   Phantom Drift.   Mississippi Mud,   Asylum,   Plazm,   Urvox,   Short Fuse,   Skidrow Penthouse,   Fireweed,    Pageboy, Shattered Wig,   Curly Mind,  Alive at the Center,   Lost & Found Times,   Pemmican,   Snakeskin,  In Between Hangovers,   Pacific Northwestern Spiritual Poetry.
Plus work in around 200 other places.

Western Washington U, MA in literature
Bowling Green State U, MFA in poetry
Cornell U, BA in English

Wordstock, Portland Jazz Festival, Artquake, Reed College, Center for the Performing Arts,
Portland Community College, Powell’s, Spare Room, Broadway Books, Cafe Lena,
Portland Poetry Festival, KBOO, KPSU   (all in Portland)
Bumbershoot, Elliot Bay Books, Cascadia Poetry Festival, Richard Hugo House, Red Sky
Poetry Theatre, Seattle Poetry Festival, RASP, Subtext, Title Wave  (all in Seattle)
Eastern Oregon U (LaGrande), Fishtrap (Enterprise), Tsunami Books (Eugene), Southern
Oregon U (Ashland), Cascadia Poetry Festival (Nanaimo BC), Bookpeople (Moscow ID),
Walla Walla Poetry Party (Walla Walla.), Get Lit! (Spokane), Whatcom Poetry Series
(Bellingham), Doe Bay Resort (Orcas}, Penofin Jazz Festival (Potter Valley CA).
Also in Portland I performed over two years as the  poet in Salon des Refuse, a monthly jazz
multi-media ensemble led by Rob Schepps..

Residencies at Playa at Summer Lake, March ’15, April ‘16
M Journal contest, 1st place in poetry, ‘06
Rhysling Award, short poem, ‘95

Other Work
Hosted I Love Mondays, a monthly poetry reading in a downtown book store, for 13 years.
Organized Poetland, with 80 readers in 8 venues across 8 hours in ’09. For that day, the mayor of Portland changed the city’s name to Poetland.
Edited and produced 26 Books—26 chapbooks of 26 pages by Oregon and Washington poets.
Edited and produced NRG magazine for 17 years and 34 issues.
Worked 32 years for Oregon DMV, including 12 years as office manager and 2 years as public information officer.
The Interview

1. When did you start writing poetry?

Wrote my first poem junior year of high school. Being a poor kid, either of whose parents graduated high school, it seemed a little miraculous to me. Also at this time i was going to a local coffeehouse, hearing folks reading ferlinghetti, gindberg, et al, and joined in on that activity. not reading my own stuff however.

2. Whose stuff did you read?

at the coffeehouses, ginsberg, ferlinghetti, kerouac, patchen and yevtushenko.. wasn’t reading much other poetry outside of high school texts. sophomore year of college i discovered walt whitman.

2.1 What was is about their poetry that appealed to you?

the vitality and passion, ferlinghetti’s humor, ginsberg’s rage (at that time hadn’t yet read song of myself), patchen’s visions and sweetness. overall, the more accessible, vernacular language

3. Aspects that you work to show in your own writing?

I don’t “want” things for my writing. My main task as poet is to let the words that come out be what they are. as i’ve said a few times, language can’t write or type, so depends on me, & the unavoidable spin/tint my brain and world context add to e flow.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

don’t really have one. do try to look over recent, still be worked on poems every day, tend to dip in and out of them. never know when i’m going to write one. when i did a couple artist residencies i wrote something new every morning. i’ve frequently written poems after movies, after or during concerts or readings. as i’m struck and able.

5. What strikes you to write?

may sound too obvious, but poems start with a phrase or two in my head, so i start to right, sometimes repeating that phrase over and over til i get to computer or paper.

6. What brings out the phrase that brings the poem?

sometimes itll be an artistic event like a movie, concert, or reading (though usually the sparking phrase has nothing to do with that movie or concert,) sometimes the spark just comes, a quiet moment, unusual colors..

7. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I hardly read any poetry. Living poets I like most are Alice Notley, Ron Silliman, and people I have some associaiton with–Jake Berry, Ivan Arguelles, Jennifer Coleman. In prose Don DeLillo, Arundhati Roy, Rebecca Solnit, Mohsin Hamid, a fine sci fi trilogy by M. John Harrison. Of course there are more names in  both areas.One of the biggest attractants for me is creativity, thnigs I’d never thought of before. also  new ways and perspectives on somewhat familiar topics (solnit), or insights into places i know little about (Roy.)

8. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

imagine it’s different for every one. you need to want to be a writer, enjoy writing. read a lot–not just volume but variety, see what’s old what’s new. write a lot. share your work. i went through an MFA program which was great for providing time and focus for writing.

11.   Tell me about a project you are involved with at the moment.

The Closer You Get to Nowhere, my 20th book, should be out this winter from Last Word Press. This 50 page book is all poems written in the six weeks i spent (two visits) at Playa at Summer Lake. A full size manuscript, Manything, is currently in 3 presses heaps for consideration.. And every Wednesday i write and record a current events poems for the KBOO Evening News.
not that tech savvy, but here’s a link to the last published book, Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid, also from Last Word Books


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