Welcome to the 2nd Wolf Twin Review!
Introducing: David Pedersen . . . a writer, banjo player, and owner of the independent bookstore Maze Books in Rockford, Illinois.
at the stars
is the same
is the change.
And / And / And
what should I say?
lives in the hands?
that true beauty
is wasted on mirrors
and sold at market
that wrapped skin
is a commodity?
that perfect sentences
kisses the tongues
of human creatures
whispering to god?
what should I say?
what should any of us say?
we are fireflies
to our captors
Featured Poet Interview:
1. How do you feel being from the Midwest influences your work?
We exist in the middle of everything, while simultaneously exiled from both coasts. We are cold weirdos, Midwesterners. To explain the Midwest, is to explain a car ride on Thanksgiving, head pressed against a frosted window, watching dusty snow slide along grey fields of plowed land. It’s a state of being that is difficult to illustrate. I think that trying to share such a complex state of being, as a creative, provides a unique incentive. Sometimes the audience understands, and sometimes the audience just stands.
2. You are known to be a fan of the Beat Generation. What does the way they approached literature and life mean to you?
The Beats invented their own scene, their own movement, their own cultural chaos during mass conformity and liberal blacklisting. They didn’t see lack of mass interest in their poetry as troubling, but rather, an opportunity for inspiration and a consequence of being beaten down and in-between. They were lost. And rather than finding a place to fit in, they created their own world. They fought censorship. They pushed other artists to push back as well. Without the Beats, it is doubtful that America would have ushered in a cultural revolution in the 1960s. It’s difficult to come up with any contemporary American art that doesn’t somehow draw a connection back to the Beats. They live in everything now, even if modern artists/writers don’t know who they are.
3. Who are your favorite poets?
Denis Johnson. Carl Sandburg. Gary Snyder. Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg is my favorite poem.
4. You own a bookstore in Rockford, Illinois. Maze Books. How do you balance owning a bookstore and being at the forefront of the literary scene with having time for your own work?
It is difficult. There are days I question whether I’m more of a character of myself than my true self, but I’m going to guess that most people feel that way too. I understand the needs of my customers, but I don’t necessarily know what readers want from me as an artist. When I see other writers sharing their stories of success from others, I can’t help but draw comparisons to my own success, which can be problematic. The fact remains; I have been more successful in running a bookstore than I have been in creative writing. But success is probably the worst motivator for creativity. If I were solely motivated by audience response, money, or fame, then I would have stopped writing a long time ago. I’m still trying to sort out my personal motivations (and the motivations of others) but I don’t think that I’ll ever get close to a concrete answer for either. The reward is in the writing, not after, not praise, not sales, not compliments. Just as a sculptor or visual artist enjoys working with their tools to forge something from nothing, so do I as a writer. I don’t know if I have a choice in the matter, to be completely honest. I will always create, regardless of response.
5. You sometimes tag your posted work #succinct. As admirers of short form poetry here at Wolf Twins, what does Succinctism mean to you?
Succinctism is based on a challenge: How can we, as creatives, explain complex subjects or themes, using concise phrasing, that can easily be understood by the broadest possible audience?
Time is everything. People don’t seem to have as much time as they used to. Every word in a piece matters because reading takes time. If artists want readers or audiences to experience their work, or want to share collective thought, then the artist must understand that audience participation is a sacrifice.
Succintivists rebel against bloviation and redundancy. We honor time.
6. If you were a tree, which would you be?
I love Bass Wood for carving, Osage Orange for Color, and Black Locusts for strength and will.
Thank you so much for being our Featured Poet, and welcome to the Wolf Pack!
Greetings, fellow poetry lovers. Check back next month, or subscribe to our blog to see the moonstruck poets we have lined up.