You’re having a book launch Tuesday (March 12) at Studio 107B. What’s the title of the book and what’s it about?
Taos author John Biscello is having a book launch Tuesday (March 12), 7 p.m., at Studio 107B. We asked him, "What’s the title of the book and what’s it about?"
Here's what he said ...
The title of the book is "Arclight." It’s a collection of poems, spanning the past four-to-five years, and is broken into seven sections reflecting thematic variations on light (e.g., “Half-Light,” “Unremembered to Light,” “Lighted Tatters,” etc.). I’d say the major motifs of the collection are: love, grief, metamorphosis, soul-play, with comedy and pathos holding hands throughout. There’s also a “portrait” section, which pays tribute to certain writers (Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Henry Miller) and historical figures (Joan of Arc) in a series of prose poems.
Is poetry your thing? How did you get into it?
I don’t know if it’s my “thing,” but it is and has been a part of my writing life for a long time. I started getting into it in my late teens when I became a part of the spoken word scene in New York, and grew interested in poetry “off the page.” In those wild formative years, I’d do a reading in drag, wearing my girlfriend’s clothes, my sister having done my make-up, it was my Ziggy Stardust era as a poet (John is grinning and winking right now, in case you didn’t see it, and no he’s not wearing a dress). I wrote a lot of performance-oriented poetry back then, nowadays not as much, as the brief, compact, compressed, and haiku-like (if not haiku itself) enamors me. Then again, depends on the day and feel and mood, as I still like to get volcanic with barbaric yawps, if the nature of the beast demands so.
What inspires you to write?
Just about everything. It is one of my ways, perhaps my most soul-fluent way, of communing with the world around me, of engaging in a dialogue with both the seen and unseen, of participating with sensitivity. Writing, for me, is or can be that magnetic crossroads where wonder and craft meet.
In terms of favorite writers, who would you recommend to readers and why?
Boy, I have so so many. Since it’s a poetry book that is coming out, let me just say: I think Dr. Seuss was one of our indispensable geniuses who embodied the spirit of Charles Mingus’s words about creativity: “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.” I loved Raymond Carver as a short story writer, think he was one of our best, but some of his poems, especially the later ones, when he was in the final stages of his life (I think the collection was called Ultramarine) are beautifully felt and stripped-down, very human, heart-laid-bare kind of stuff. Pablo Neruda and Rainer Maria Rilke are two of my favorites for their breadth and generosity of spirit; they have pumped my lungs full of a lot of fresh, clean air. The sorcery of Sylvia Plath’s poetry will always hold a dear place in my heart and imagination. And the lyrical locomotive that was Dylan Thomas, the sheer musicality of his work, wow.
What future projects do you have planned?
I have a children’s book, a poetic fable based on a story about Franz Kafka coming out this spring/summer: The Jackdaw and the Doll. It will be illustrated by one of my favorite local artists, the pen-and-ink art-sorceress known as Izumi Yokoyama. It’s a haunted love story, about love, hope and the magic of storytelling.
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