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Interview With Poet Sebastian Matthews

Poet Sebastian Matthews

Today, at the Poetry Blog of 32 Poems Magazine, my interview with poet Sebastian Matthews was posted.  He’s a contributor to the magazine and was a delight to interview.  What’s not to like when the guy sends you a photo of a “two headed monster” — his caption not mine.

First, let me tantalize you with a bit from the interview, and then you can go on over and check the rest out for yourself.

Without further ado, here’s the interview.

How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room eager to hang on your every word? Are you just a poet, what else should people know about you?

I start by assuming they aren’t ready to hang on my every word. I hope they want to but just need a little help getting into the mood. I will start with a poem that I hope has some extra energy, a little spark—maybe something funny or dramatic—and I try to introduce the work in such a way that a conversation with the audience begins to develop. What I am aiming for is that back-and-forth talk inherent in all good readings. The work should provide any necessary biographical info. Too much back story provided by the poet can kill the reading’s momentum. The banter should merely frame and light the work at hand.

More and more, I see giving poetry readings as akin to stand-up comedy. Problem is, I’m not that funny.

He also included this poem he often uses to open his poetry readings:

Poetry Scene Blues

I’ve been slapped

+++++++ fucked

++++++ & fired

been played

+++ spun

++++++ & spurned

& the funny thing is

+++ Look out

++++ for No. 1

++++ all I ever learned.

Ever learned.

How do you stay fit and healthy as a writer?

Walking, making collages, taking breaks from the work, hanging with my family, shooting hoops with my son, traveling, etc. I try to spend as little time at the computer as possible, if that makes sense. I go to cafes with pages to mark up. I even write on some of my favorite walking trails. It only works when you’re good terms with the rocks and roots.

There’s something entirely unhealthy, or unbalanced, about writing. At least for me. So I try to build a life around it—which includes a small amount but not a large amount of teaching—to balance the equation.

Do you have any favorite foods or foods that you find keep you inspired? What are the ways in which you pump yourself up to keep writing and overcome writer’s block?

An awesome question. Chocolate, of course. Coffee, if that’s a food.

As for writer’s block, I don’t believe in it. The little weasel is imaginary. Make a quick PB&J sandwich and get back to work, I say.

Please check out the rest of the interview on 32 Poems Blog.

Also please check out his blogs:
3 by the fire
Merz Pictures