Greetings girls and boys!
I am Scent of my heart and I welcome you to Meet the poet on Wednesday at Jingle Poetry.
Today I would like to introduce you someone with a very different and special poetry, creative and thought-provoking writing. It's been a real pleasure to follow his blog, to read about simple happenings and feelings dressed in engaging the mind words.
I thought quite a lot how to describe him before I offer you an interview and none of my own words seemed good enough to be said, but the following quote by Albert Einstein is absolutely perfect reflection of my impression about Caribbean Fool and his "The fools back pocket" blog.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
~ Albert Einstein
Tell us about yourself ...
Well, I play around a lot at life. When I was a kid, I used to write five letter words on the wall with permanent crayon. One time I was caught writing the word 'think' on the bathroom wall facing the toilet about hip level. The punishment fit the crime; I wasn't allowed to use my brain for a week. Never wrote on another wall. About ten years later I started writing multiple words with various numbers of letters on paper with pen or pencil and found out there was a lot more you could say if you're willing to drop "tradition" in favor of "experimental experience". Having read between 4-6 books per week since the age of 10 or so, I was familiar with sentences and paragraphs, so I started using that format. The more I read, the more different styles of writing I would find. Soon I was writing terrible poetry as well as awful prose. This improved over time until I developed sufficient confidence to share what I was writing with my friends & family. I didn't get a bad response, but I didn't get a good response either. In fact, I got no response. In order to find out if my material was any good, I tried getting the attention of teachers & professors I had studied with or under. Again, no response. It was at this point that I realized why I wasn't getting any response.
Thus, armed with a “why not” attitude, a paucity of resources, 18 inches of hair & a complete lack of computer skills, I entered the peaceful world of online creative writing. One afternoon, I woke up around 4 in the afternoon trying to remember where I was. The room was immaculate, everything in the right place except me. Peeling myself from the couch, I wobbled over to my desk and gave a brief history of me to a friend and fellow blogger while listening to “You're Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore” by John Prine. The room smelled of watermelon incense and I must say, despite four days of stubble and eyes the color of Jupiter, the whole experience was rather pleasant.
How about your blog? When did you start it, how did you come up with the name and what it means to you?
I started The Fools Back Pocket (TFBP) after experimenting with blogging on a few other sites. The only goal was to develop a single place to keep all of my various writings after losing an entire notebook full of poems when they were accidentally soaked with dirty water at a Standell's reunion gig at the Menechino Civic Center when celebrating the two year anniversary of the miracle of 10/20/04.
It made sense to use a phrase with multiple meanings to allow for the broadest possible meaning and context. The actual phrase is layered with references, symbols and various interpretations, For instance, it could refer to the Jester in being allowed to speak truth to the King in a humorous way and not getting slain. Or maybe the writer is a clumsy & strange, foolish in word & deed. Perhaps his derriere needed scratching, or maybe he just keeps his wallet there. It can mean anything you want it to mean. No need to be pinned down by specifics. The 'meaning' of this particular phrase is known only to myself and one other person that doesn't realize they know. Makes life easier, and I like easy almost as much as I like plausible deniability.
First steps in writing? Do you remember the first poem?
Something awful about dreams lost to the winds of time & tide. I've lost many old notebooks & even a computer drive or two that held the remains of many poems. It's a bummer and what can you do but learn to back up anything important enough to write down? I probably wrote my first poem when I was 15 or so out of curiosity; I wanted to know what it felt like to be a poet. Felt so good, I've been chasing it ever since.
Is there a style of writing you prefer?
I only read/write in English, so I suppose you could say I prefer to write anglophonic poetry. A deep attachment to a philosophy of individual freedom heavily pervades the free-form style of my work; my distrust of anyone claiming authority about 'right' or 'wrong' methods/form/language/style. To say something IS poetry is ridiculous. It's narrow thought, it's trying to catch water in a net; it simply does not matter whether it is recognized as poetry or not. In my opinion, poetry is anything the writer wants it to be.
I'm working to blaze my own trail by molding a distinctive style with by a specific use of language, capitalization & grammar. Each word plays an equal part in the thematic or stylistic development of poetry or prose. Whether that part is large or small is arbitrary, as is where the word lies in the context of a sentence. Arbitrary rules & traditions are not my responsibility to maintain or respect.
Do you write only poetry?
I dig on writing everything. You cannot learn about language, even your primary language, without observing every kind of usage; from the mundane (such as the words printed on receipts from the grocery store) to the complex (such as abstract narratives or artistic exploration of language without a clear narrative.) I'd like to see a merging of poetry and prose; the current division is meaningless. As I wrote above, I've been consciously working on building a linguistic preference that functions as both.
The purist in both groups will never accept it. Not my concern. It relieves much of life's stresses to stop worrying about anything you cannot directly control. It does not indicate a lack of caring; it is possible to care without worrying, as proven by Al Bundy when he declined to sleep with the supermodel that bought him from Peg for a cool million dollars.
Favorite piece you've written? I know, I personally will have hard time to choose one, because everything from you is perfect, but still ... favorite poem?
Some favorites from the last year or so;
late-night dust has settled;
things are close to the way they used to be,
if not quite the same as they might have been.
new words will be spoken,
sounding like the voices of old friends
thought to have been lost.
gone off wherever people fade away towards
when they leave the small towns
of heartland river valley’s for city streets.
when pressed for answers, they demure;
leave the advice for the slick city kids
to dispense; they usually like
to pretend they know what they’re talking about.
rather still; sometimes just the right
inflection brings you back to
just the right image of how easy it was;
how peaceful it might have been.
What can be an inspiration for you? Where and when do you feel comfortable writing?
Literally anything can serve as inspiration for a poem. Same as the “every cabbie has a tale to tell” attitude often found amongst filmmakers. Whether anyone will read a poem describing the heroic battle of a blade of grass to stand against the wind is another question, but the poem can be written. Same quandary as all art forms – the artist can see a sliver of beauty that nobody else notices; is the artist crazy or is everyone else blind? Who knows? Personally, I lean towards crazy but everybody is entitled to their own opinion. Walking the line between being inventive and expressing something many people can identify with is difficult depending on subject matter/thematic expression, but never impossible. Nothing is impossible.
I've always been comfortable writing wherever and whenever the need arises. I hate losing poems to the moments it is impossible to write them down, but if they were meant to be written, they will return. Preferably, I write at home, sitting at my desk with music playing loud, depending on time of day of course (don't want to piss off the neighbors!). Too much peace & quiet is bad for doing anything creative. I'm a firm believer in the Barfly wisdom that “nobody who could write worth a damn could ever write in peace.” (Barfly, 1987) Different kinds of music and changes in the environment usually show up in the poem. That said, I can write anywhere.
I know you read a lots of books, after all such a rich language that you have, sure requires a lot of reading, share with us favorite writers and books?
I try to read as wide a variety of writers as possible. Poets I'm partial too include Charles Bukowski, Robert Frost, Shel Silverstein, & Robert Hunter. Prose writer favorites include Hunter Thompson, Thomas De Quincey, Joseph Heller, Jared Diamond, William Burroughs, John Kennedy Toole. I have a link on TFBP to my goodreads.com account if you're a bookworm and want to swap reading lists. I'm always looking for books ideas.
You've been part of Jingle poetry community for some time now, are there any benefits of this?
Absolutely. Both in terms of reading tons of fantastic poetry as well as finding an ever widening audience of writers/poets/generally creative folk to share creations with. Its been a fantastic way to learn about writing by sharing with people from all over the world. Getting involved with Jingle Nation Poetry has been great all the way through. If you would have told me18 months ago I would be conversing with like minded spirits from literally every corner of the globe, I'd have laughed hysterically, then asked you where we should plan to hold the intervention. Can't recommend the community as whole enough. Eclectic group of artists each working in their own way to make poetry a bigger part of their lives. What's not to like? The more the merrier, as always.
Are there particular blogs you enjoy visiting? Anything you'd like to recommend to the readers?
I mostly amble around the creative writing section of the web and try to touch base all over the place. To conserve space, I have few favorites / the last two aren't really poetry sites, simply favorites I'm passing on./:
If you could be the author of a best-selling book what would be the name and the theme of the book?
Titled “Why Joe Henry Loves You Madly” the book would be an in-depth exploration of how the world's most inventive sonic explorer, songwriter & producer discovered super-human powers to create music transcending greatness all the way to a land known even to the gods of rock n' roll as Dylanville.
(From the Cover Flap) Some say Joe Henry once beat up Bill Brasky over a slightly bent paperclip.. Some say he can talk to songbirds, giving his music astounding sonic ambiance. Still others believe that his songs are so powerful simply playing them alone in the dark will make melt your brains and they will slide right out of your ears, onto your shoulders. Gross. Now I don't fear Zeus striking me down with a thunderbolt. I fear Joe Henry will allow Zeus to strike me down with a thunderbolt.
From the past centuries, going back in time, where would you think you will fit perfectly?
Being burned as a heretic or thrown into a concentration camp are not on my bucket list. I suppose someone with my beliefs & values fit present day American existence better than they would have in many places in the past, for a wide variety of reasons. Truth be told, I wouldn't mind visiting the island of Elba around May 1st, 1814 to find out what it was like to go from peasant to Emperor to prisoner. I feel like books can't quite convey that sort of thing.
Dreamer or down to earth person?
Daydreamer. It gets me in more trouble than any other hobby except chasing irony out of boredom because I tend to chase after things I want. The world is far safer and more standardized when I'm busy writing than with me stirring up trouble on foolish quests for glory or perhaps fun. That said, I try to be practical. When choosing between any number of given possibilities, I almost always pick at least one of 'em.
Any advice for people who like to start a blog, who like to do something about their writing?
Read and write every chance you get. Write when relaxed. Write when pissed. Write on Friday nights when everyone else is going out binging on banana daiquiris & tuna colada. Write on Saturdays when everyone else is hungover. Read every time you smoke a cigarette or have five minutes of time between whatever it is you've finished and whatever it is you're getting ready to do. Repeat until dead, or until people with white coats come for you. If they let you near sharp objects, obtain pen & paper. Continue writing.
On a more general note, try and write on as many subjects in as many ways as possible. There are no rules regarding subject matter or style, so write about everything and experiment with form & style. Learn to take inspiration from multiple sources and incorporate emotion into the narrative rather than vice versa. Keep writing. Everything else will take care of itself. If you get bored, TFBP is always there to assist with time-killing craziness. (The boys from the home office wouldn't let me do this unless I agreed to mention the motto, so here goes.)
The Fools Back Pocket; Where Do You Spend Your Nights?
That would be all from me /Scent of my heart/ and Caribbean Fool.
You, our lovely readers, can visit him and enjoy mystery, good sense of humor and scramble your thoughts over quality in poetry at http://foolsbackpocket.com/ and I would like to end this post with my favorite poem from "The fools back pocket" land.
ground to sky & amp;
i can hear
the creek gurgling;
from the dark
in a daylike
to boil over
but never really
won’t mask the
alone in falsely
lit two ayem
silence is no
your dragons & amp;
you’d help me
i know you can’t
i know you won’t
you fight alone;
to us both.
Wishing you all a lovely day. Stay tuned for next Wednesday and another poet with Christopher.
Scent of my heart