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.
Brian S Gore
is a writer of short stories, poems, and songs. He currently resides in New London, CT and has published several collections of original works including “Barstool Ballads” and “Eleven Stories for Short … Attentions”, as well as coordinating a collaborative project entitled “A Collection of Poems by Various Poets Regarding the Line ‘10,000 Miles of Farewell’”. His newest book, “Tangled World”, is now available, along with his new album “Going, Never Stopping”, at briangoing.bandcamp.com.
• What inspired you to write poetry?
Reading. As an art student, I enjoyed visuals and images, but as I began to read more I grew a desire to write an image rather than photograph or paint one.
• Who introduced you to poetry?
It’s hard to recall. My class had a poetry lesson in Language Arts one week in 8th grade and this is when I really gripped the idea of self-expression as a considered release, as opposed to shouting and crying. I took a creative writing class in HS in my last semester. My teacher was fantastic and, where as she didn’t turn me on to any new poetry, she said one thing I will always remember. When I told her I liked one classmate’s poetry, she said, “He doesn’t write good poems. He uses big words.” So while I stumbled upon poetry on my own, she was the first guide along my path of writing. Later in college I took a poetry class, but did not like being taught how to write poetry, so I studied on my own. Assignments bore me. Like the Gene Autry song, “Don’t fence me in.”
• How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
Hardly. I knew who I was supposed to read and didn’t. Up until the following story, I was into Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”, Erasmus’ “In Praise of Folly”, and Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. Then, one night in 2007, driving home, I listened to the oldies station. A snare snapped, gripped my attention, and for the duration of my drive (short for a drive, long for a song) I listened, for the first time, to Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone.” This, late as it was, would be my real launching point. From here, it goes without saying, I learned about the beats, but I also learned that songs can be stories, poems can be songs, Hank Williams and heartache, Woody Guthrie American balladeer; it led me deeper and broader into old and new forms, and for the first time, I was truly hungry.
• What is your daily writing routine?
I try to keep it steady, but don’t. Sometimes my words flow like a BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes it’s more like the steady leaking pipelines through the Dakotas, ya know? It’s happening, but not at a devastating enough rate.
• What motivates you to write?
A fleeting feeling of deep affection. A lingering lust. Politics. Travel. Alcoholics waiting outside the liquor store where I open at 8am, and some who tell me “I’m supposed to be in detox”. My own habit for drinking. A passing image in my head. Quiet cold nights alone on the porch with gin and a cigarette. Stuffy rich people. Arrogant drug addicts. Desolate faces or maniacal drunks who think a fight is as good a connection as they can afford anymore. A desire for hopefulness. The need to show the world to people who don’t see it.
• What is your work ethic?
I don’t work. I retired after college. It was 2007, the US was falling to bits, all my friends were finding jobs they would do for free until they had enough experience despite the degree they just purchased. It all looked like bullshit, so I got in my car and drove. I wrote my experiences and that’s still what I do. I’m a self-published, 34-year-old, retiree poet/musician.
• How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
Poetry can be fun. A poet can say profound things without superfluous words. The day my HS teacher told me the other poet was not as good as he may sound, I had read my poem, of which I only remember, “This poem is not good. / It sounds like Dr. Seuss. / This poem is as bad / as grapefruit is juice” and I still write poems like this because poetry is not meant to take itself so seriously, and I like to challenge that notion. Anyone can act morose, but to write something people find humorous is hard as nails. For this, hats off to good comedians. George Carlin, for example, was a brilliant poet, e.g. “Modern Man.” Poetry is a form of expression, and of course we all express our sorrows and fears, but we also have the ability to share our joys and jokes. That’s what I carry with me from Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. Herman Melville is hilarious. Kurt Vonnegut and John Prine, likewise.
• Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
I enjoy reading Seth Howard’s somewhat disjointed, free-associated poetry. His experiments with words and images fascinate me and rarely fail to stir some kind of feelings. Jake St. John’s poems are excellent because they are straight forward and avoid what I call hyper-poetics. It comes straight out of him. He references too many poets in my opinion, but I would tell him that, so I’m not afraid to mention it here – anyway, that’s my fault for not knowing them. John Greiner is another. His insights are spot on and hilarious with a casual flow, beat jazz nonchalance. His writing seems effortless and it’s my goal to write a better poem than he has.
• Why do you write?
I write because I think it needs to be said. I turn it into a song because people don’t want to read it. What I can’t make songs out of, I make a book of poetry.
• What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Write. You might be terrible, but you’re just a bad writer. You may surprise yourself and love what you write. There it is. You’re a writer. Publishing? I have no idea. I’m a writer.
One word of advice: put your thoughts in a journal before posting to the internet. Something about a journal is innately sentimental and you may realize your passing thoughts are either fucking stupid, or too important to use so flippantly. But at least you’ll have them to reference later down the road. Don’t give every thought away so easy.
• Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
Currently, I’m working on a follow-up book to my recent release “Tangled World”. The project, in full, is planned as a triptych. Tangled World was a mostly aggressive look at current events with lighter shorts and poems scattered in. The book finishes with a hopeful view moving forward, and this next project will continue in that vein. I am filled with maddening depression and frustration and, at the same time, a transcendent understanding of the world’s cosmic insignificance. I am a mind caught between politicians and Buddhists. Making sense of this is how I will approach my project moving forward.