Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Alan Catlin

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.

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Alan Catlin

has been writing and publishing for the better part of five decades and hopes to survive long enough to make it six decades.  He has published dozens of books and chapbooks on a wide variety of topics including books such as “The Schenectady Chainsaw massacre”, “Alien Nation” and “Last Man Standing” based on his work as a barman.  His ekphrastic based arty books include ”The Effects of Sunlight on Fog”, “Our Lady of the Shipwrecks”, “Stop Making Sense”, “Self-Portrait of the Artist Afraid of His Self-Portrait” and “Three Farmers on the Way to a Dance”.  He has won a number of contests  such as the 2017 Slipstream Chapbooks Award for “Blue Velvet” and evil twin of “Hollyweird” He is finishing the eighth book in the series of movie poems now.  His quasi ekphrastic books include “American Odyssey” and “Wild beauty” He is working on a final draft of the concluding volume to be titles “Asylum Garden” He has written a memoir “Books of the Dead “ and novella “From the Waters of Oblivion.

He is the poetry editor of misfitmagazine.net

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

There is so much to say and no other way to say it.

2.  Who introduced you to poetry?

I cannot remember a time without poetry so we were never properly introduced, we just always knew each other . I was an early reader. I read everything. I still do. Poetry is what moves me most.

3.  How aware are you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

Extremely aware. That is what course work in poetry is all about.  Reading your predecessors, older then newer one. Then your contemporaries.

4. What is your writing routine?

I don’t have one. I used to write a poem a day which I did for three and half years and then my father died. It was impossible to do for some time after that (in 2004). Never resumed the practice. Now I write as projects evolve, stimulus inspires.  The world turns.

5.  What motivates you to write?

Without writing there is nothing.  It is what being is all about. The soul of matter. I can’t imagine not writing.  You don’t give up writing, writing gives you up. Or you die.

6. What is your work ethic?

I am generally considered prolific.  Whereas I do not write everyday now, once I am  involved in a project I can write dozens of poems at a sitting.  Have done, not so much anymore, as I don’t have the mental energy I once had.  I would say obsessive might cover my work ethic, though driven works also. I can’t stop, and won’t do so until the project feels finished. it’s why I don’t write novels.

7.  How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Intimately. I can look back at poems from years ago and I can recall exactly what I reading then, as something from the reading has crept into the work,  subconsciously, or more overtly, as a quote or reference.

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

I admire writers who are intellectually honest, are willing to take risks, transcend borders and eschew bullshit. They know who they are.

9. Why do you write?

It is in the blood.

10.  What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
You have to work at it. Learn from your mistakes, read , read, read and read some more. What have other people been doing, what do they avoid, how can I learn to make the kind of positive decisions they do. Revise.  Rewrite.  And work harder.  Ask questions. Never give up.

  1. 11.  Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I generally have several ongoing projects. The longest one right now is a series of dark noir poems based on movies that has a working title of Hollyweird. They are social commentary disguised as pictures on a moving screen. I guess you can consider that a natural extension of another project called Alien Nation which were political and social commentary disguised as bar poems.  Yes, there are aliens among us, Trump proved it and continues to prove it daily. We must not let them take over our culture. It’s like the movie “The Mysterians” when the general said we can’t give them an inch and they will take a mile.  Boy, was he ever right.  In the end the good guys prevail as they generally do in all those low budget sci fi movies form 50’s and early 60’s but that does not mean solutions always happen for the best . I’m also at work on a quasi-ekphrastic series of poems based on artworks of both high and low culture concentrating on photography.

 

 

 

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