Welcome to this week, Wednesday's Meet the Poet!
Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I am an author, poet and artist living in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. I was originally born in Tucson, Arizona, and have been a survivor of mental illness, specifically bi-polar disorder, for most of my life. A graduate of New Mexico State University with a degree in Philosophy and Theater Arts, I have spent over twenty five years contributing to the various performing arts groups in my community. My work has been described as "masturbating on the world's stage in verse" and "...exactly what is wrong with the average white American male..." I started writing after being introduced to poetry as a form of art therapy as a teenager and have not stopped since. Aside from working with words, I am a single father of one.
Having majored in technical theater and arts management, I have been active back stage since my childhood, mostly working in the areas of lighting and scenic design, sound design, properties design, stage management and producer. After college I went to Manhattan to work in the theater community there for a number of years but after getting tired of living poor returned to Arizona and worked for the LORT theater in the state for almost a decade. After my last divorce I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah for a change of pace.
Growing up I spent a lot of time in Mexico as my dad maintained a sail boat that he kept in San Carlos, Mexico and spent many of my early formative years cruising the coast line of Mexico and Baja.
Please tell us about your blog, and what it means to you.
I started my blog, industrialarts as a means to reach new readers and other authors and poets. I have maintained a website (www.jonesing.com) and profiles on many of the social networking sights for a long time, but realized there is a large percentage of readers who cruise the blogs. For me, my blog serves as a diary more than anything else. Sometimes I can be very specific in my entries and other times very obtuse. It all depends on my mood and sobriety.
Can you remember writing your first poem? Can you tell us a little about it?
Honestly, I can not remember my very first poem. But I do have a collection of some of my earliest. They tend to be rather emotional teenage angst type pieces. Here is one of them:
Waiting My Turn
Lost moments to myself
I sit here dejectedly
without pause or care
Drifting with my thoughts
to a place unaware
and my loathsome state
as to rule my mind
Stopping me cold!
The worse yet to come
and then all will fall
inward on itself
A little smidgeon
of god awful hate
A curious backward grin
No point in breaking out
of my worthless while
Will you give us some insight into your style of writing, or the style/form you prefer.
Writing style to me is just a matter of the author's voice. I don't really try to emulate a specific style. I just write what needs to be written to best get my intentions across to the reader. Some have called my style 'stream of consciousness' but I actually but some labor and effort in to my work so I don't feel it is an apt description.
Are there any styles of poetry you find difficult or annoying, and why?
Not really, though a while ago at a poetry center they had a reading by some 'Eco-Poets'. This kind of threw me as all I could think of was Henry David Thoreau and these guys and gals were nothing close. Just environmental activists who transformed their message into poetry and badly at that.
Do you write more than just poetry?
Yes. Someone once said that poetry just earns you laurels, writing novels makes you money... I have just had my first novel published by Chipmunka Publishing and the London National Arts Council. It is due out in paperback this up coming spring. I am about half way through my second manuscript. You can find the pre-release ebook here:
What poem, written by you, do you like the most, and why?
That is a tough one as once I am done with a piece I never go back and read them. But if I had to pick one it would be Revolving Doors as it seemed to resonate with a lot of readers. Here it is:
I am stuck in the revolving door again!
The one on the ground floor
that just won’t let me out or in…
I am stuck there spinning,
going round and round.
I can’t make it stop
and it won’t slow down.
I reach for the outside and it clips my fingers!
I step to the inside and it nicks my toes!
I hold with both hands
and I thank my luck for the rails.
Spinning and grinning
at my own situation.
Do you have a favorite poet?
I was raised on Plath. I still have a teenage fan boy crush on her... But my favorite poet is Anne Sexton. Her writing is so totally cerebral I love it.
Do you have any mentors?
I wish I had. If anyone I would say my father. I had a very estranged relationship with my family and have only in my later years and with my father's death did I reconcile with them. I would never had thought it when I was younger, but his words, sayings and advice creep into my conciousness at the weirdest times. I miss him. It is part of the reason I enjoy helping other's with their writing.
Do you have a favorite place to write? Are there certain emotions that inspire or trigger writing?
I don't have a favorite place to write. I can zone out and write almost anywhere. Emotions are tricky for me. Being bi-polar I have a heightened awareness of my emotional state, its causes and the ramifications it can bring about to my life. Basically though, when I feel out of control, I stop what I am doing and write. It is my safety valve.
What is your favorite type of music?
I was raised on punk rock. I am still at heart, a tattooed, leather clad greaser. I also fell in love with industrial music at an early age, thus the name of my blog - industrialarts. But, I took piano lessons from the age of six to sixteen and as a result have a very intimate relationship with classical music. I have currently been listening to Debussy a lot.
Your favorite book?
I have many. But the book that has influenced me the most, hands down, is The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. I re-read that book at least once a year and can often be found thumbing through its pages for self assurance. The book I enjoyed the most though is The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. That one book as a young teenager revealed to me that not everyone has to live the life of a suit. I find it still a fun read to this day.
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you or your writing?
“Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.” - Anne Sexton. I have used this quote as an excuse for all of my excessive behaviors...
Any other creative passions?
I can play piano. I have been studing guitar for a couple of years now. I like to paint. But all of it is secondary to writing. I only do the rest because my fingers get cramped from tapping away at my keyboard all day. I should say theater, but theater has always been a profession to me so at times it can feel more like work than 'a love of the art' but I would be lost with out some form of theater in my life...
If you could have dinner with any famous deceased person, who would it be, and where would you dine?
Easy, Slyvia Plath. She was a gorgeous woman and a great writer. I would ask her to a picnic in Central Park, NYC, near this one bridge I used to visit when I lived there. It was such a beautiful spot.
Now, the final three "trademark" questions...If you had your own band:
What would it be called? The Inklings (nod to Tolkein and Lewis there)
What would be the title of the first album? jonesing
What would the title of the first single be? a cover of Heroin by The Velvet Underground.
Thank for taking your time for this wonderful and amazing interview