Monday, April 3, 2017

Poet Michael Indemaio

Thank You Michael Indemaio!

Michael Indemaio is a modern master of pointed love poetry,
 and Revel is a collection of cogent wit wrapped in hope. 
A book with an endless supply of heart.

Twitter: @ indemaio

Q1.Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a Christian, a poet, and a fool. Hopefully in that order. I was born and I live in New York City and wherever I go I carry that with me. The size scope and dynamics of it, but also the frequent need to seek out a peaceful haven, a quiet café in my heart. When I was a small child we had a dog who would sit next to me as I told her my problems. Over time what has occurred to me is something I surely knew then, which is that the dog cared and even understood in a way the adults around me wouldn’t. For a dog there is no distinction between the problems of a child or an adult, they are both mysteries boiled down to a simple feeling or expression. The wisdom of that is something I try not to forget. I have a dog now too, her name is Sonnet and she also listens well.

Q2. Why is poetry important?
Art is important, and poetry doesn’t need any special pleading. Great art transcends, and it’s hard to overstate the importance of that. Through art we find expression for the ineffable and can reach for the intangible. Art is more about what it means than what it says or shows, and that’s something I think we’d all like for ourselves and our lives – which is to say both that life is well understood as art and that art is something with life. Any work of art and any artist does not exist in a vacuum and so is both influenced and influential. It is a great thing, to be a ripple in the illimitable waters of making. Poetry specifically is one of the art forms that require nothing but humanity, and that can be important in many ways. A poet with nothing else still has poetry.

Q3. How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
By the time I begin to write a poem it is in some sense already done. It already exists in my mind as an essence strong enough that I don’t question its ability to emerge, although what I don’t know about it yet will vary. It often begins with a feeling, but just as often it begins with words. Words, like music notes, can be arranged in limitlessly beautiful ways, and that in itself is worthwhile beyond my own desire to express something in particular.

Q4. Where is your favorite place to write and why?
Outside, in the sunshine in spring, when everything is in bloom. Specific places come and go – businesses and houses get sold torn down and rebuilt – but seasons come and go and always return. In the sunshine of spring I feel most connected to times gone by while simultaneously hopeful for what’s to come. I like writing from a place where I feel like who I’ve always been, but also like I’m growing and alive.

Q5. What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?
My written voice has a speaking voice. A lot of my early poetry was written for spoken word performance and that has stayed with me. The better a poem sounds the better it will read, and the more true and honest it is written the more it will be felt. The gap between my written and spoken voice is something I work to eliminate.

Q6. What are your thoughts about social media and poetry? Do you think it helps the poet or hinders the poet?
Social media democratizes poetry, which is a good thing. It also helps the poet find the right audience, and vice versa. I once saw a young teen read his hip-hop inspired poetry in front of a room full of middle-aged academics, who shamefully mocked him. I told the young man and his mother that he did a good job but was in the wrong setting, there was a community of poets with similar taste not far away who would no doubt encourage him. On social media you can find the right audience and then communicate with them and write for them. I don’t buy into the notion that every writer should be writing for themselves and not considering the audience. A diary can be good and healthy as exercise, but for artistic expression I want intention and performance.

Q7. What is the best advice you have for other poets?
Figure out who you are and never stop being that person. Authenticity is everything.

Q8. What do you see in the future for poets, do you believe that poetry will regain its strength over time?
I don’t think the strength of poetry has ever been diminished, but I do see a great time for poetry emerging. There are so many young people reading and writing poetry right now and I think once you fall in love with poetry you never fall out.

Q9. Why did you start blogging?
When I was a child I used to write elaborate plays with characters named for my classmates and then pass them around at school. Later I would have monologues in the morning to start the school day. It never occurred to me to not share my creativity, and I’ve always done that en masse because I’ve never wanted to leave anyone out. If you’re a writer then writing is your best and preferred means of expression, and to not have a blog would be cruel to your notebook. If you love the words set them free.

Q10. Do you have any blogging tips?
I’ve become a terrible blogger because I’ve become an obsessive tweeter, which has turned into almost a blog substitute for me, but I’ve had all kinds of blogs and I think the lessons are always the same. What to do depends on what you want to get out of it of course, but the most obvious answer is consistency. The advice to a writer is always to write, and to a juggler to juggle, if you want to improve. In blogging it’s also true that if you put yourself out there consistently it gives people a reason to come back. If they’ve enjoyed themselves at your blog they’ll want to do that again. If they come back and you’re not there, they’ll move on. So I say write all the time and don’t hide it.

Q11. Who is your favorite poet? And why?
Of all time: E. E. Cummings. Not for his innovations and quirks, impressive as they are, but for the masterful poet underneath them. What is innovative or stylistic will change over time but the brilliance of the individual is timeless. Cummings wrote traditional poems and then splintered them into more engaging pieces as easily as he willed these miraculous neologistic originalities from thin air, and he did it with both studied genius and a childlike sense of joy and play. Even more than that though, he spoke with a voice as strong and unique as any. He stands in a great tradition and has no trouble standing out, and when you get right down to it he could throw a beautiful line on the page at any moment. It’s thrilling reading him, knowing what’s coming, and still being surprised.

Q12. What, if any, groups or organizations are you a member of?
I can’t think of any organizations worth noting, but that’s probably because of how busy I keep myself without prodding. There’s no right way for everyone or every time, but right now I’m constantly chasing passions of my own design. One thing that is very important to me is that I see my readers, my audience, as a group to which I am part of and not separate from. The people who share my work with each other and who share their work with me, or who write to me for any number of reasons, they all mean a great deal to me and I go out of my way to let them influence me. My new book of poems was written during this time where I’ve had these readers and I’m sure the resultant joy has found its way in. I consider the book to be every bit as much a result of its audience as its author, and that for me means more than I can merely say.

"The Light in My Eyes" 
My desire
to have you next to me,
beside me at all times,
and not just metaphorically,

has me dismantling
my understanding
of the impossible,
and rejecting responsibility
as unwise—

I want to sell my belongings
to take you out, and
I want to learn new languages
to write you love letters
the whole world will understand.

I think sometimes it will be easy
to achieve some great success,
to create a vast empire
for your benefit and approval,
or to
gather stars in jars like fireflies
and give them to you as gifts—
(they will light up your room
as you light up my life
as you lift up my dreams
and become them).

You are the dawn,
the beginning of everything I care about.
You are the sunlight that shakes me awake.

Now only duty is to your beauty,