Q+A with Andrew Brenza, Author of SPOOL
If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
I’d roast a chicken for Guillaume Apollinaire.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
It used to be the blank page. Now, I enjoy the creative act too much to be afraid of it. If the result sucks, then so be it, I’ll try again.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
The brilliant Mary Ellen Solt.
What books are on your nightstand?
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
The hyphen, because it can break as well as unite.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
The Catcher in the Rye: Too whiny!
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
Get over yourself and write!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I wish I knew!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The myriad little responsibilities and obligations of adult life.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
I can’t say that I have. There’s just too much good stuff out there.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I don’t think writers are any more or less sensitive than anyone else.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
The validation from wonderful poets such as Michael Sikkema, Megan Burns, and Derek Beaulieu, who have all published my work at one time or another, has been invaluable to me.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It relaxed me a bit and gave me confidence to continue to try new things in my writing.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The money I spent to purchase a copy of Emmett Williams’ Anthology of Concrete Poetry.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
I struggled with Pound for a while when I was young.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I remember reading The Hobbit as a boy one summer evening. Dusk was falling. I was outside on the patio and utterly transported.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Fiasco by Lem
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
The firefly, for sure.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
As a poet focused on issues of language, I don't really create characters.do this.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
What does literary success look like to you?
For me, literary success is simply being able to contribute to the world of literature. I am honored and humbled to have been given the opportunity to publish a number of poetry collections.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
As a poet focused on issues of language, I don't really do this.
What did you edit out of this book?”
The bad poems, I hope.
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