Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Angelo Verga

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.

Angelo Verga

Angelo Verga

has appeared in over 100 poetry publications; widely anthologized and translated. His seventh book is Long & Short, including The Street in Your Head (2016). He was an owner of The Cornelia Street Café, where his programs (1997-2015) made a home for poets & audiences alike.

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

Desire to made things, change things, learn things. I’d much rather have been a baseball player or a stage actor.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I found it while trying to read everything.  I’m self-taught. I had the good luck of not reading contemporary writers till I was nearly fully formed.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

Of course, they are my best friends and most bitter rivals. I love Catullus and hate him. Also Chaucer, Milton, Lorca, Dante, Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Pound, Melville, Blake, Baldwin, Ernesto Cardinal, others.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

Write as early in the day as possible, walk, eat, rest, then edit before sleep, even better edit while sleeping. Try to talk to very few people, too many voices make for confusion, hesitation.

5. What motivates you to write?

I write the poems I need. And believe there’s a chance someone else will need.

6. What is your work ethic?

I spent most of my work life as a blue-collar worker, my family is working class. I bring that to writing. Put in the time and occasionally there are results.

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

They challenge me to get better technically. I consider poetry a craft. First there’s a calling but what matters ultimately is doing the work. I want to be as memorable and as useful as my poetry heroes.

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

Lawrence Joseph, Veronica Golos, Suzanne Frishkorn, Dennis Nurske.
These are poets whom I know personally, and whose work is meticulously crafted;
poets who strive to change how one can see the world.
They have also avoided imitating their own earlier work,
a pitfall that swallows many writers after they have had initial success.

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

Can’t do anything else nearly as well.

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

Read. Apprentice yourself to someone (preferably someone dead) and learn how poems are made.

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

A dream book. Right now it’s 25 poems. No idea where it wants to go as of yet. Might grow smaller or bigger. If you knew in advance where a poems or book was going, what would be the point of writing it? Or reading it?

2 thoughts on “Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Angelo Verga

  1. I liked reading this. Angelo’s responses were short, snappy, honest, and unpretentious. I especially liked his acknowledgement of the early poets.

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