Tuesday, May 22, 2012

12 or 20 questions (second series) with Daniel Zomparelli

Daniel Zomparelli is the editor of Poetry Is Dead magazine. His first book of poems, Davie Street Translations was published in the Spring of 2012 from Talonbooks.

1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
I’m not sure it necessarily changed any aspect of my life. I guess now people stop asking me when my book is coming out.

My work continues to change as I try out different styles and forms, but my book’s artistic style already feels foreign to me. I have trouble sticking with anything, and am usually embarrassed at anything I do. I want to be the Madonna of Canadian poetry, thus reinvent myself over and over again until I’m just writing shitty pop songs.

2 - How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
I had applied to be in a fiction program, but they thought I was better suited to poetry. I guess the poems I spat off in 10 minutes were better than the three short stories I spent months on. Now I spend months working on individual poems.

3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
I can only speak to the one book I have but, it takes me a long time to work on any project. I usually obsess over things for about three months, trying to think of every angle of the project. Then, with this book, I wrote for a few years and edited some older poems I had. After that I spent a year editing. That being said, my next book probably won’t be done for another eight years.

4 - Where does a poem usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?

Sometimes poems come from just random themes that come up in conversation. Then I try to understand the language around that theme and build from there. Sometimes that concept can be a potential book or sometimes a single poem is enough to satisfy me, but usually I am focused on a book or project (not necessarily to be put into the medium of book).

5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?
I like public readings because it helps when I’m writing humouristic work. I need to hear people laugh to confirm I am hitting the right notes. I enjoy readings for the writing process, but I actually dislike poetry readings in general. I get bored intensely fast. I’m still in that age where I think I’m missing out on something by being at a poetry reading, I blame every app on my iPhone.

6 - Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?
I’m going to do a writer faux pas and quote myself, “Is it the gays or / the gaze?” That is usually what I'm trying to concern myself with theoretically, but I'm terribly unread when it comes to theory. I spend my evenings watching Zizek youtube videos instead. He reminds me of my dad.

7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
I’m here to entertain. Whatever anyone takes from my work is up to them.

8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?
Working with Garry Thomas Morse was exceptionally easy. I fear any other editors after him.

9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?
I’m paraphrasing but, “If you actually have something to say, write an article or call the media. Don’t write a poem.”

10 - How easy has it been for you to move between genres (poetry to critical prose)? What do you see as the appeal?
It’s difficult for me to write in prose. My brain has lost any ability to keep a linear path. I’m working on a prose book, but it involves an intense amount of experimental poetry. I enjoy when writers don’t concern themselves with genre. Genre reminds me of gender, something enforced upon people without any real benefit.

11 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?
I write when I’m not working one of my 19 jobs.

12 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?
If I’m stalled, I read. If that doesn’t work, beer.

13 - What fragrance reminds you of home?
Garlic pan fried in oil.

14 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?
Social interactions. Anything on the internet.

15 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?
bill bissett’s work.

16 - What would you like to do that you haven't yet done?
I really want to curate an art show entirely made up of contemporary Canadian visual poets. I’m still working on this, but it probably won’t happen for another couple of years.

17 - If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer?

I work so many jobs that I can barely identify myself as a writer. If I didn’t write, I would probably be in marketing. I also really wanted to be a stand-up comedian when I was younger.

18 - What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?
Like most writers, social anxiety.

19 - What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film?

Hagiagrophy by Jen Currin. I have a lesbro crush on her.

20 - What are you currently working on?
Long poems, speculative fiction, visual poetry, finding a boyriend and the perfect Whisky Sour.

12 or 20 (second series) questions;

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