If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
Anne Sexton. I love her verses and I would make her my world famous, in my household, chicken tacos with plantains on the side. I would love to talk poetry, life, love, dreams and desires with Sexton.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
Eddie Vedder said it best: “I just try to remember where that initial spark came from, and it’s like a pilot light, and I try to make sure that thing doesn’t go out.”
I write every day. I once read that Leonard Cohen woke up at the crack of dawn, so I wake up early when it’s still dark outside and start writing.
The thing is I usually have no idea what I am going to write. I just let my fingers hit the keys and let the magic happen.
I feel like your creative mind is like any muscle in your body. You need to exercise it every day. And I write every day.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
Definitely Kim Addonizio! Her poetry is such an inspiration. I write erotic love poetry and she is one of the best most seductive love poets of this or any generation. Her essays are dazzlingly spectacular. The other night I was feeling stressed out and I picked up Bukowski in a Sundress and her essays gave me a sense of peace and splendor. It’s as if she has gone through all of this and she is giving advice and I want to listen and take it all in. I would love to meet her and talk craft and wax lyrical on poetry. She is the greatest. Just conversation, that’s all. She is wise and brilliant. A true literary inspiration.
What books are on your nightstand?
Just about all of Lidia Yuknavitch’s books, Dora and my favorite Chronology of Water. Bukowski in a Sundress by Kim Addonizio. The Guardians by Sarah Manguso. A couple of Anne Sexton out of print poetry collections, The Death of Notebooks and The Awful Rowing Toward God. I also have this amazing book called An Accident of Hope: The Therapy Tapes of Anne Sexton. Two of my favorite new books, one is Good Women by Nicole Myae Goldberg and Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends.
I’m a Gemini so I go back in forth between left brain and right brain books. My idea of fun reading are usually devouring rock music bios. I have a couple of books on The Beatles: The Love You Make by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines and The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider Account of The Beatles & the Wild Rise and Fall of Their Multi-Million Dollar Apple Empire by Richard DiLello. Richard Blade’s World In My Eyes, Chrissie Hynde’s Reckless and my favorite: A Portrait of Bowie: A tribute to Bowie by his artistic collaborators and contemporaries.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
One of my creative joys is to explore tumblr. I love writing ekphrastic poetry, poems inspired by photographs and/or paintings. Since tumblr is very photo-centric I find a lot of inspiration spending hours on tumblr. I have also discovered some amazing poets and authors on tumblr. I love book and poem quotes. So on my timeline I am always finding these amazing quotes that inspire poems, becoming epigraphs or lead to me reading classic or new stimulating poets and authors.
Photographs. Paintings. Quotes. Lines. Facebook posts. Instagram posts. My whole world is my inspiration. Douglas Adams once said: “Everything you see, or hear, or experience at all is specific to you.” So this is the way I live. Basically my motto is “When inspiration calls, no matter where you are or who you are with, you gotta accept her charges.” I always have a pen and paper with me. Or I use my notepad on my cell phone to write down lines.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
The ‘Long’ Em dash. I use it all the time in my poetry. It reminds me of that last drum fill that Larry Mullin Jr. resounds in the last note in one of my favorite U2 songs “Stay (Far Away, So Close)” it dangles, and it sort of mysterious, I love the way it looks on the page and it has this way that sparks the reader to be seduced by the very next line.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
One that I never finished because I loathed the main character, Holden, is Catcher in the Rye. I’m a Kerouac hombre, I prefer On the Road. My wife and I have this never ending debate. She loves Catcher and I will always choose Road as the quintessential Great American Novel. Road and Huck Finn are my two favorites. Not that I have anything against J.D. Salinger. Love his short stories just not a fan of that book.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
My Mami passed away in November. My Papi had her ashes put into these beautiful glass figurine. I have it on my writing desk. My Mami was always my champion and believed in my poetry. She is always looking over me. I wouldn’t be published if it wasn’t for her and the support and love of my Papi. My answer is my Mami rebirthed inside the beautiful blue glass figurine on my writing desk.
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
I Write Therefore I Am.
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
When Inspiration Calls, No Matter Where You Are or Who You Are With, Always Accept Her Charges,.
Being a writer is a 24 hour, 365 days a year gig. There are no days off. Usually when I am driving, out with my wife and not thinking about writing is when I have my best ideas. Always write everything down. Don’t miss any inclination. I’ve been exhausted wanting to sleep but instead I stayed out and write lines that turned out to be some of my best poems. Like Eddie Vedder says. “I just try to remember where that initial spark came from, and it’s like a pilot light, and I try to make sure that thing doesn’t go out.”
Don’t let it go out. Write On!