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.
Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino
was born in Greenwich Village, New York, and was raised in both the city and in the country across the Hudson River in New Jersey. He was educated at home, eventually to enter Fordham University where he received a degree in philosophy. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Doctor of Arts in Leadership program at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. His work has appeared in anthologies including the language art anthology The Dark Would (Apple Pie Editions, 2013) and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press, 2015). His digital poetry has been anthologized in the Brazilian book, Poesia Eletrônica: negociações com os processos digitais [Electronic Poetry: negotiations with digital processes] (Jorge Luiz Antonio, 2008). His play, Come Spring, Comes a Circus, was in October 2013 performed in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the Georgian language, by the Margo Korableva Performance Theatre directed by and with translation by David Chikhladze. His e-chaps include The Logoclasody Manifesto (2008, second edition 2018), Six Comets Are Coming (2009) and The Galloping Man (2010). His most recent volumes are The Valise (Dead Academics Press, 2012), Selected Poems (Poezii ales) with translation in Romanian by poet and scholar Elena Ţăpean (Bibliotheca Universalis, #117, 2017) and Two Short Novels (Douǎ romane scurte) with translation in Romanian by poet and scholar Elena Ţăpean (Bibliotheca Universalis, #118, 2017). The Wet Motorcycle: a selected is forthcoming. Today he lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York, where he works as a private docent.
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
It’s a case of unconscious assimilation—I learned to read reading poetry. I have vivid memories of reading Poe and Dickinson and Cummings, his “anyone lived in a pretty how town.” I discovered, with this poem, in this poem, something as unlikely as I was. A child reads without the filters of logic, this state leaves him wide open to any suggestion. It’s not about understanding things like irony and metaphor and figures of speech and ambiguity and things like double-entendres and paradox. It’s about learning language and speech. It’s about saying the words. And the understanding that language is both a matter of communication and personal (and poetic) expression.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
My mother. She put the books in my hands. (She taught me to read. She taught me penmanship.)
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
I had a writing mentor, a tutor, and with her the older, dominant poets were Marvell and Yeats and Rilke and Eliot and Pound and Plath and their presence was by way of the books and the recordings. It wasn’t until I began to publish that I became aware of older poets dominating the scene—dominating in the journals and reading venues and such.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
Wake up the computer, open the files (poems in varying degree of progress) and see what transpires. And I’ll return, again and again, through the course of the day.
5. What motivates you to write?
Getting it perfect.
6. What is your work ethic?
To always be available. To never put it off.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
From the perspective of a grammarian, there is an influence, say in the study of the articulation, but otherwise, they do not influence me, certainly not in the way I live my life. Certainly there is an influence, an information, in the sensibilities—an unconscious assimilation.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I admire those who are developing an original narrative voice, who are developing a signature voice and style and technique of their own.
9. Why do you write?
I enjoy it.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
One does not become a writer. What one “becomes” is a poser.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I’m working on my flash-fiction novel, Suicide by Language. And a string of sonnets entitled, Thinking.