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Category Archives: Interviews

Poetri to Rachel

1) What does your Poetry smell like?

Sweaty tightrope walkers.

2) What is your favorite color and have you ever written a poem about it?

My favorite color to see is dark pink. My favorite color to wear is floral and animal print. However, I have never written a poem specifically about any of these things.

3) If someone gave you a million dollars to never write poetry again, would you do it and why? Or Why not?

Being a parent, I would say yes. A round of college for everybody! Woohoo! But I’d probably have it taken back because I think every poet finds a way to write it, even if it’s while making a grocery list. I am in constant poetry. I could easily never write a book of poems again, but poetry would sneak into the short stories I write, or the memoir I’ve been daydreaming about.

4) What is your favorite poem that YOU have ever written and why is it so special?

That’s like asking which child of mine is my favorite. It’s impossible to narrow down, because each poem is meant for something very specific (and different) than the others. This morning, at 9:30 on a Friday, my favorite poem of mine is “This Wild Thing.” A poem about being a parent, and how hard it is to let our children go, to live their lives. I am in constant worry over this. Yesterday, a student brought a gun to my youngest son’s school. So now I am rethinking next year. Will I home school (again?) Do I let him stay? Are there dragons in the clouds, ready to swoop down and take us all?

5) Why did you start writing poetry?

Because I needed to find better words for my sorrow. My friend had died, and it changed my life. His death is why I left my abusive boyfriend of five years. And why I started writing poetry (which were more like letters to him at the time.)

6) If you were gonna write a poem right now, right this very second, what would it be about?

Arizona. Ugh.

7) Who loves you the most?

I have no idea. But I know who loves me the best.

8 ) If you weren’t a poet, what would you be doing?

I have a dream of going to school to be a plumber. I’d start an all-female company.of plumbers, and we’d wear pearl necklaces and pink mechanic’s jumpsuits (so no possibility of butt crack.) For people (and especially women) who are uncomfortable with having a strange man in their home or apartment. I have a phobia of it myself, which is why my shower in Brooklyn dripped for three years. It’s also why I only go to female gynecologists. Only women can touch my plumbing.

9) What do you like about the poetry scene today? What do you dislike?

I like the sense of family, I dislike the nepotism.

10) How many times have you used Third Eye in one of your poems?

Never.

11) Do you believe in GOD?

Sometimes.

12) If you could choose any poem in the world…which one best describes you?

The Sheep Child, by James L. Dickey

13) Does your daughter write poetry?

Which daughter? (I have three.) My oldest, Piper Jane, does. She’s been writing poetry since she was five. They are up on the “art wall” in our house.

14) Do you think you are a great writer, okay writer or a poor writer?

Okay. There is so much more I have to learn.

15) What do you think your purpose in life is?

To be the kind of parent I never had.

click here for Rachel’s website, where you can find her bio, calendar and merchandise

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Rachel to Poetri

1. If your poetry was a sexual position, which one would it be?

I don’t know enough sexual positions to even answer this question, plus, my poems are not married, so they try hard NOT to have sex.

2. What was the first poem you ever wrote about?

A Tree.

3. What would you want on your tombstone, in haiku form?

A very confused
man, who did what he could do.
maybe I pleased you.

4. Whose poems would win in a fight between Lemon Andersen’s & Jerry Quickley’s?

Good Question. But, I would have to say Jerry, cause Jerry used to scare me when he read back in the day.

5. What poem have you NOT written yet?

The one about me being a superstar and how I am handling it. I figure once I become that star…yea, that will be the first one I write.

6. What is the worst book you ever read?

I can’t remember the title of it. But, if was a book I read in 7th grade. It was horrible. It was so bad, that I couldn’t stop reading it so I could complain about it.

7. How long does it take you to write a poem?

Depends on the poem, but usually about two days. The first day to write down all the notes and the second day to put it all together.

8. What’s the difference between poetry and prayer?

The poems that I hear sometimes are not going to GOD, they are written and being spoken cause the poet likes the way he sounds. A prayer is directed toward GOD and you want GOD to like what HE hears.

9. What is your favorite poem by someone else?

I go through periods of having different favorite poems at different times. But, I guess a staple favorite of mine is Taylor Mali’s “Teacher” poem.

10. Is there anything you would never write about?

Not, if I have a connection to it. Like I can’t write about Maxi Pads, cause I have no experience with that.

11. If you could give the last ten years of your poetry a grade, what would it be?

Whew. The last ten years? The first part of that last ten years would be an A. But the last part of it would be an F. So, I guess I am gonna have to say a C.

12. Write a poem/jingle for Supersized Maxi Pads. GO!

Woa, scary…I just answered this question.

13. If I asked you to write me a one-woman show, what would you title it?

A ONE WOMAN SHOW FOR RAC!

14. Have you ever farted during a performance?

Several times. Matter of fact, the better question is…have I ever NOT farted during a performance.

15. What’s the most expensive thing you purchased in the last two weeks?

Frozen Fruit…geesh, I can’t believe frozen fruit costs that much.

click here for Poetri’s website, where you can find his bio and calendar.

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Taalam Acey to Buddy Wakefield

1.What is the future of Spoken Word?
Practicing what is being preached… and learning to play an instrument.

2. Who were your early poetry influences and which contemporary > poets do you most enjoy?
“Early”: Annie LaGanga, Tim Sanders, Gayle Danley and Pink Floyd
“Contemporary”: Andrea Gibson, Derrick Brown, Anis Mojgani and Mike Doughty

3. What hurts the art form of performance poetry most?
Tragedy addicts.

4. Should performance poetry be a viable profession or is it best kept a hobby?
I got in the car at such an awkward angle today that I sat on my balls.

5. What are your feelings on the prose and rhyme poetic styles?
Taalam, were you sitting with a college journalism major when you wrote this question? I swear if you weren’t so tall I’d punch you in the knee right now.

6. How do you feel about traveling and is it a necessary evil for full time performance poets?
After a decade (the first 2 years and four months of it spent living from my car), I’ve become a huge fan of stability, routine, consistency and health. Traveling is, however, a necessary evil for full-time performance poets. Thank goodness for work ethic and smart choices regarding side projects, merchandise, consolidating time spent touring, and the emergence of technology and more health food stores on the road.

7. What/where was the largest gig you’ve done?
In my heart: Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA the first time I opened for Ani DiFranco.
Technically: I think there were 3,000+ at the National Finals in 2005, Albuquerque.

8. Describe the first place you performed Spoken Word?
The Globe Cafe (now closed) in Seattle, WA. I performed “Strength So Strong.”
Oh, wait, does poetry night at a summer camp count? That came first.

9. What’s your favorite place to perform?
Home. Seattle.

10. How does the internet play into your career?

Well.

11. What are your feelings about performance poetry with musical accompaniment?

I’ve grown to prefer it so long as it doesn’t show up like some self-indulgent beat poetry jazz chatter. I wanna cause a revival, not a finger snap.

12. What would you say is the difference between presence and performance?
One shakes hands with a spine. The other is acting, like fake crying.
Presence is always welcome in my book. Performance is fantastic[al] in moderation.

13. How have poetry slams factored into your career?
While I’m no longer drawn to Slams, or interested in deep discussions about them, I am incredibly thankful for the platform Slam has provided with regards to my healing, growing, career and my voice.

14. How did the Seattle poetry scene influence your work?

By being a supportive and thriving community of talented individuals encouraging each other to live a little better than what they did yesterday.

15. What aspects of your style would you describe as uniquely Texan?

I say y’all *a lot* in my work. It’s a break-down-the-fourth-wall tool. It’s not very unique to say “y’all” though. I’m a fashionably unoriginal former bull-rider, and I can rope you from the stage (try me). Is that uniquely Texan? Oh, and I can buttfuck a cactus.

Buddy Wakefield to Taalam Acey

1) There’s a difference between knowing and practicing. What should you be practicing more?
I continue to practice positively affirming life with the core belief that things work out for the best when you do your best. So every day is another opportunity to be the best me I can.  I’m more comfortable with the results of my efforts now that my perspective is more accepting of unintended results and based more on being appreciative of the lessons in and of themselves.

2)  What was your high point today?
It’s 8:45am and I woke up in Phoenix a few hours ago. My high point so far was going out to the balcony to smoke a Black & Mild, look out into the skyline and reflecting on the uncertainty and promise of the days to come.

3)  Favorite go-to joke when put on the spot?
It’s kind of long to tell and doesn’t really translate in print, however, it involves 2 pious parrots succumbing to a parrot vixen. I’m not one to tell canned jokes, but when I need a go-to joke, that’s the one that’s been the most consistently effective.

4)  Do you feel like artists rise from falls they take in vain just for a reason to stand?
I suppose there are people who rise from falls they take intentionally and perhaps those falls are often in vain. It’s hard for me to conceptualize the idea that an opportunity to stand could be in vain, even if the fall itself were self-inflicted. However, if all they end up with is a reason to stand, yet don’t quite stand up then it would certainly be in vain. But the perpetrator would not necessarily fit my definition of an artist. I think of art as a more natural process resulting from the individual manifesting what naturally follows from being him/herself.

5)  And when do you catch yourself doing that (recycling redemption), if ever?
That’s not my process with regard to writing. I may live that cycle to some extent as the methods with which I market my work are often dichotomous. Still the writing itself is always honest in that I only create work when the time feels right and the ideas born in my head have bounced around to what feels like critical mass.

6)  Have you found an inlet to sustainable joy?
Just the understanding of that common wisdom: “Happiness has more to do with wanting what you have, than having what you think you want.”

7)  Name one song you actually like that if people caught you listenin’ to, and feelin’, like seriously rockin’ out on, you’d probably try to explain yourself.
Perhaps The Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil;” One of my absolute favorites but I’m sure people would have questions if the saw me zone out to it.  Ha!

8)  Do you feel like you could take me in arm wrastlin’… chump?
I wouldn’t bet money on it but, then, who knows?

9)   Aside from poetry, is there anything people would be genuinely surprised to know you do well?
I adapt to very odd and uncomfortable situations. The kind that incessant traveling will often thrust upon you.

10)  On a scale of 1 to 80 (80 being elite athlete, and 1 being the dude who got killed for gluttony in the movie “Seven”) how healthy is your lifestyle? Consider body first, then mind, then spirit.
Body: I’m in decent shape but I have a few vices and I’m nearly 40 years old, so I’ll go with 60. Mind: I read regularly and am more motivated by opportunities to learn than opportunities for leisure, so I’d go with 70. Spirit: I believe that things are as they should be and, like the rest of us, I’m here to allow my inner self to manifest and, in some way, move humanity with it’s gifts and convictions while learning and recalibrating. I’d say I’m at 70 there as well.

11)  If you were on death row, and it was time for your last meal, what would they be serving you?
Lobster stuffed with crab imperial.

12) Who/what makes you belly laugh most often?
I keep the sitcom, ‘Two and a Half Men” stocked up on my DVR and whenever I need a laugh, an episode or 2 does the trick.

13) What new skill are you ready to learn, and do you have what it takes to follow through?
I’m interested in documenting my experiments with writing, performing and traveling more thoroughly. I’ll have to become more adept at filming, planning ahead and editing the footage. I don’t doubt I’ll be able to follow through.

14) You ever dance when you pray?
No, but walking while I commune with the Almighty is pretty common for me.

15) Why were you on death row?
Was never on death row, but if I were, it would be for refusing to veer from my core beliefs or conform to that which is against how my spirit receives that my particular energy was meant to affect humanity.