Jim Morrison called the self interview a new form of art. Interestingly I read that in a collection of his poetry. To that end I thought I’d do a small self interview about Tired Scenes From a City Window and post it.
What’s your objective in putting together this collection? In one respect this is sort of a clearing for me. I’m getting all of the poems and pieces I’ve worked on since college and purging myself of them. After this everything will be new. This collection represents finding my voice and you see the evolution that took place in my writing.
What’s the oldest poem in the collection? There’s a poem titled “So Eternity Died” for a long time I thought it would be the title of any work I published. It’s my first mature work and while I don’t think it’s necessarily in the voice I would end up with it, it’s part of the evolution that got me there and it is a fully realized poem. It’s sort of like The Town and The City by Kerouac, it’s a respectable and mature voice, not just the final voice.
What types of pieces are in the collection? Most of the pieces in Tired Scenes are beat inspired. I think there’s a strong San Francisco poetry renaissance influence running throughout as well. Some of the more romantic can definitely be connected to Rexroth while the title piece and others walk in the footsteps of Ginsberg. There’s a little bit of all of my different types of writing in here, the experimental, the spoken word, the romantic, the rebellious, the beat and more. One of the pieces I wrote in college and turned it in as an assignment for a poetry writing course. The professor hated it so much she asked if I would rewrite it if she handed it back to me in something more closely resembling traditional poetry.
So were you trying to do anything with these poems? I think the most obvious answer is I was trying to say something. I had something I needed to get out and this was the way I was able to do it. There’s a flow to a lot of poems I write but there isn’t necessarily traditional rhythm or rhyming patterns, this isn’t academia poetry. Interestingly though, it isn’t what’s now considered street poetry either. There’s no hip hop influence felt in many of today’s spoken word artists. It’s experimental from maybe a more intellectual edge, sort of like how be-bop was more intellectual than big band jazz or hard bop. It sort of picks up where I think poetry goes after the beat writers. Maybe some writers and artists outside of traditional literature maybe are represented in that line as well—like Lou Reed for instance or Kory Clark from the rock band Warrior Soul.
Well then, do you not have literary intent in your head when you write? I definitely do have literary intentions. There are experiments I work on that are usually carried through for many different poems or even several years in my writing. For instance, with several of the pieces I’m working on the idea of very long lines. I’m trying to expand on what Ginsberg did in Howl. This idea is eventually carried through to the point where I try to write one very, very long line that is the poem. I’m now working on some pieces where I poem is comprised of many different short lines that can be taken from the poem and are almost individual poems in and of themselves, almost haikus without the syllable restrictions.
What do you think separates you from traditional poets then? The most obvious and academic answer is that I don’t follow traditional form. I haven’t sat down and rewrote over and over, trying to work within a rhyme scheme or a syllable count. I also think my poetry tends to be more urban, meaning I’m using the city in a lot of ways—subject, setting, etc. so you won’t find a lot of nature in my poetry like you do with a lot of other writers. I don’t know that, I don’t understand it. I live in the city and have since college, before that I lived in the suburbs and didn’t camp or hike so the city really is my wilderness. I think I understand it and its what interests me. I love the early morning in the city when bread is being baked and neon lights are being shut off from the night, construction workers are beginning to work , etc. Those are magic times for me.
Will you publish anything else after Tired Scenes? I’m working on a collection now which I’ve tentatively titled Sojourner and, as long as I’m able to get the funding necessary to publish this collection I’ll be publishing that one, hopefully in year or so after this one. If you’re interested in funding Tired Scenes From A City Window, which I’m attempting to do through Kickstarter go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/817254788/tired-scenes-from-a-city-window-publication