Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Scott Wozniak


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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Scott Wozniak

is a poet/chaos enthusiast living in Oregon. His works are widely published both online and in print. He is the author of three books, Crumbling Utopian Pipedream (Moran Press), Killing Our Saints (Svensk Apache Press), and Ash on Your Face like Warpaint (Analog Submission Press). His fourth book, Shooting Gallery Vultures, a graphic book of poetry collaborated on with artist Andrew Nutini is due for release this spring through Moran Press.

Here is a link to his author page at Neutral Spaces Scott Wozniak | Neutral Spaces

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

Poetry just came out of me as a natural coping mechanism. It was by no means a conscious thing. Years ago, I took up the habit of writing and poetry just seemed to be the form it took when being released.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I can honestly say no one ever really introduced me to poetry. In my youth I found myself being drawn to the lyrics in music. As a result, I think that imbedded in me a love for words. Due to that attraction, I just started soaking up and exploring poetry on my own.

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

Very aware! Most of what I found in those early years were what would be considered classical poets, Wordsworth, Longfellow, Whitman, etc… which led to T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Frost, William Carlos Williams, which led me to The Beats, which led to the Nuyorican Poets, to the Meat Poets, to poets coming from the Café Babar scene, and so on. It took me many years of following the chain to find more contemporary poets. When I did discover there was a slew of poets working in the form today, that weren’t “academic poets” or writing flowery rainbow feel-good poetry, it was a revelation. For a long time, I didn’t even realize contemporary poetry (I could enjoy) was a thing. Look in most bookstores today and you’ll only find older poetry/poets. It takes some serious digging and knowing where to look to find newer works published outside the usual crap

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I wish I could say I have a daily writing routine. I get it down when it needs to get put down, when the desire becomes too much to handle.

5. What motivates you to write?

There’s just this strange pull inside of me that only gets relief once I put something down on paper, a pent-up feeling of angst or tension that only writing relieves. Couple that with life experiences and interactions with people that had a deep effect on me, people whose stories and existence is generally ignored, and my feeling that they deserve to be recognized, well, roll all that together and I guess it creates the perfect storm.

6. What is your work ethic?

My work ethic is shit, I get distracted by the million directions life can pull us. But when I’m focused on a project, I will see it through, eventually.

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

I think all their output, technique, and guidance that I tried to absorb and learn from is still there, influence wise, one way or another, maybe even sub-consciously. But I hope it’s not too obvious who I’ve been directly influenced by. I like to think I’m building off a type of poetic heritage and taking it in new directions. But I also know that’s a crock of shit and that, at this point in the game, the best I can really hope for is to contribute to the lineage by adding something to it that doesn’t suck.

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

Man, there are so many good writers out there today, just carving their way through the indie lit scene, not giving a fuck, and doing it for the love of the art. Almost everyone I respect most, works a job, has other life obligations and still makes time to create. If I were to make a list of names, I would undoubtedly forget someone. So I’m gonna cop out and say this, I have huge respect for everyone out there with the gall to strive for creating new work and having the audacity to get it out into the world.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Like I said before, it’s just kind of what came to be. I’m not so sure there was much choice in the matter.

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

I would tell them to just fucking write. You don’t “become” a writer. You either write or you don’t.

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

My next collection, Shooting Gallery Vultures, is a collaboration with artist/friend Andrew Nutini and should be released sometime this spring through Moran Press. It’s a crazy, beast of a book that is best described as a graphic book of poetry, like a graphic novel but for poetry. Andrew did amazing work bringing my poems to life through his visual creations. I can’t wait for people to see it.
I’m also going to be doing a split chapbook with John D. Robinson at some point, it will be published through his Holy & Intoxicated Publications. I’m really excited for that, as well. I love John’s work and am honored he asked me to share space with him on the page.

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