An interview for the Slam Contemporary Poetry, Italy.
1) You use different expressive languages such as music, video, writing and poetry. About music, for example, you say “When words are suspended between the past and the future, music is the paramount present”. What are the points of union or contrast among them? Don’t you risk losing your focus in one of them?
Poetry-in-Motion (by Soar) is a project very dear to my heart, meant to intertwine various forms of artistic manifests such as imagery, sound, animation, dance and motion pictures, all with the sole purpose of bringing poetry vividly closer to the audience in a present characterized by speed, variety, versatility and multi-tasking. Its purpose is not to change the essence of my poetical message, which recalls a vintage flair upon the seed of sensibility in an artistic shell, but rather to adapt the form in which such message is to be perceived and hopefully welcomed. I feel that the anchoring from past depths to modern needs is important and prolific.
There is no concrete balance or contrast between the artistic elements I use. They are meant to accompany, guide, succour and harmonize the poetical expression to the point of an intermingled form in unison in order to bring the audience its own personal experience, based on the synergy created with each of them and especially with the whole. While the beauty of it all is when the result is different every time, individually.
2) Can you explain to us what you mean when you say “Words are never enough to express emotions and feelings. Words are static, often in black, unattractive attire upon white thin pages, overloaded with hidden meanings”?
I personally believe that music reaches further than words, undoubtedly because of my hidden passion for music. I often lose myself in it and come back by means of poetry. Its a reversed ongoing process from the starting point to the goal: I search for my own musical shape with the help of words which, once construed within, become in return my essence, attired melodically and transmitted to the world. It is amazing to lose oneself in a form and to find oneself back again under another one; or even better, under a combination of both.
Like previously stated, I sometimes use other elements to help me, such as dance or photography, but essentially it is music and poetry which have had a decisive impact on my work and life.
As to the written form and this quote in particular, words are never enough to convey feelings or emotions. They need their addressees reactions or actions in order to come to life, fulfil their purpose and complete the circle. In that sense, it is the writers task to wrap them in such a way as to awaken individual experiences on both sides, whether lived, relived, or simply enlivened. Words alone are never enough, no matter how savvy they may appear to be.
3) In your Soul diary you deal with topic such as truth, sexuality, love, hope, freedom and elegance. These themes have been continuously addressed in the past. Why this choice?
It is not a choice, it is an as-is status. My literary approach unravels certain themes, keywords or symbols, which recur in my writings as part of my being and beliefs. I included eight keywords and four different forms of art in my upcoming book as short stories with an allegorical touch and a sense of positive teaching or outcome. I have been influenced by them all my life and wish to emphasize, remind of and fight for those forgotten values or little things of worth which can save us from hardships, doubts, dismay or the overwhelming status of our society, constantly refilled with cybernetically enhanced problematics.
Surely these topics have been dealt with in the past, but the point is maybe not to create something new every time, all the time, at the risk of losing ourselves in a void of newness; rather, to go back to the roots and envisage the most important things in life from a different perspective and, from there onwards, to hold on to that essence no matter what the future preserves, for that is the definition of our true selves.
Many readers who approach me to talk about my work dont necessarily confess to have been stimulated towards new adventures, but to have been reminded of the times when they used to be better, do better, love better and they miss that genuine approach to life situations, which sometimes is very simple and achievable if we have the right hope about it.
4) As regard to your poetry, I was impressed by a B. Iliescu’s consideration “You write in a feminine way without falling into feminism”. What’s your goal? What are your most recurring themes?
My main goal was stated many years ago in my article The Prostitution of Writing (2012) and surprisingly enough, despite the growth I have experienced over the years, it has remained the same. “In a world attuned to loneliness and individuality through ever-growing virtual networks and business-framed societies…its not the time to stay obsolete, neither to play confused in a myriad of anti-/neo-/post- trends with contradictory tendencies. Rather, its the time to bring out the best from within, with charm and originality….I will gladly wear colourful miniskirts upon white sheets of settings ensconcing the motion of my emotions, yet I wont prostitute my writing to fit in the stretch outfits of the given industry. A touch of life is more than enough purpose for me. Hopefully.”
As far as feminism is concerned, you can be a feminist, while still being feminine. There are many ways and tools to express a message and fight for a certain goal. Some use riots, strong words, placards or pink pussy hats as symbols. But one can also use different attitudes and approaches like sympathy, empathy, an encouraging language and positivity. I dont want to recall Mother Theresas lenience or Martin Luther Kings passive resistance against violence. Like any human, it is my duty to fight for fairness and, sometimes, being blunt and open is the quickest way to cure injustices. Yet, I feel that our current crusaders are so overwhelmed by bitterness and aggressiveness that adding another drop to a full bucket of harshness and negativity wont change much. Instead, maybe we could make a difference by really being different, despite the trends and the requests. I was often worried that my themes and messages were too soft or not in trend with the world, just to realize from my audience and from time itself that remaining true to ones own expression is a greater value than the one following the hypes. I have never written a poem about a political figure, but I have written many poems about sufferance, hypocrisy, fairness and any other emotions that the socio-political problematics entrench in our everyday life. Maybe my way of addressing such issues is slower and takes longer to grasp, but I am sure the outcome is still colourful and pleasant to reach by those who entrust me with my message.
5) What structure do you use more in your poetry? For example, can you comment on part of your poem “The undone”: Its done, the undone\ with a rebound of life \ where an unconditional soul \ clung between the doings of \ sometimes and hope \ for no other reason than \ the biggest love of all \. Who are your favourite poets?
I dont follow specific writers or trends, even though Sallinger and Prvert are still my favourites. I believe that becoming a writer is not about finding similarities, nor following the same trends, with different accessories. I often un-follow subscriptions and newsfeeds when I want to write about something. When I write I follow, read and am inspired by life, people and passion.
As for the structure, I have always run away from stereotypes and given rules. I think the best reply I can give here is one of my poems, which synthesises how I normally write and structure my pieces.
To make a poem right
all you need is distraction and water
to flow and entangle your thoughts
into drops of feelings
pouring out as if they never existed before
at full speed and intensity
reaching to some sort of confusional awareness
in the bewilderment of the moment
while water runs loose and keeps the noise constant
dragging you along while you try
something you want to go on
to take over the pre-set logic of the mind
running for the dress code of the metaphors
raw and virgin in your palms
before you have a chance to put down
or at least to remember
through key words and broken lines
that uniqueness to define
with unabashed focus and stillness of time
a poem, made out right.
6) Are you used to reading poetry at public readings. How important is the voice to poetry? What is the link between a book and an audio book?
I have only been performing poems/reading stories for about two years, so I am still very new to the stage. I always find it fascinating, scary and emotionally charged in a way that it is challenging because its different each time.
I come from a background of book writing and my stories and poems are meant to be intimate messages to be read without being disrupted by waiters, or without needing applause or acclaim.
Needless to say, the mind-set of a reader is different from that of a spectator. In my article The Prostitution of Writing, I tackled this subject and made a not-so-nice comparison between the two. Meanwhile, I grew wiser and more tolerant towards any form of expression, as long as the message is perceived and not taken as some sort of sheer entertaining service. An artist on stage should never have the feeling that he/she is subdued by the audiences whims or expectations. A piece can and should always be adapted to fit the audience, but it should never be transformed to the point of being deprived of the artists truthfulness.
When I started performing my own poems I was worried about such inevitable transformation, yet, now, after more than two years, I am more relieved about the fear of losing my essence in emptied glasses of strong spirits. Now I embrace the live performance as a powerful means and an outlet for all artists who want to be heard and understood at least by their presence, and I would recommend it as a personal experience, regardless of the lack or presence of acting skills.
The voice is also an important asset to the artistic manifest as it reflects ones conviction about the personalized message to emit. If you are not yourself convinced about it, you cannot reach the audience, no matter the given mic, speakers or presence on stage. Because of the nature of my poems/stories, a belligerent or ironic voice doesnt suit me. I dont think its about the strength of the voice or how controversial the subject is. You can perform something about butterflies if you know that you have been professional enough in your research and truthful to your beliefs about them. Many times, I am off topic at events, but at the same time, I have often altered my performance just before going on stage, according to the atmosphere created at the given time of my performance and the people attending the event. I believe its a matter of respect to be aware of the audience with whom you want to connect and interact through your piece and with your presence.
7) Your video poetry “Empire State of Love” (Poetry-in-Motion Project, 2014) synthesises your voice, your poetry and the images. Can you tell us the equilibrium you got, and, in general, what a video poetry is for you?
My Poetry-in-Motion Project was my next step towards my development as a writer and my choice to grow artistically using auxiliary forms of art. As I mentioned in my introduction, it is meant to bring hearts together on more waveforms or rhythms and make poetry more accessible in a demanding and sceptical world, when poetry would most likely be the last resort to solve things with, while still being the one to voice at best the inner side of ourselves, with all the tribulations, fears, courage, doubts and joy.
Empire State of Love was born from an old movie and a vision of the future, while gazing at the world from the emblematic Empire State Building, one of the highest points in New York. It is one of my signature pieces and it expresses the beauty of unconditional feelings, beyond time and space constraints and constructs. It also deals with hope and redemption, amongst other values and virtues, such as loyalty and trust, very dear to my heart and essential in my writings. The animated characters, beautifully designed and animated by two other artists, are meant to be ageless, coloured only by their own emotions, truthful to any situation anywhere in the world and, in this sense, bearer of the universal message of positive feelings, despite the unanimated, metal-like grey scenery. I created it a long time ago and it still defines me as an artist.
Regarding the artistic elements, as I mentioned before, I never follow a pattern in which to combine exact percentages of such elements. Every piece, whether spoken, danced, animated, photographed or just written, needs to fit the intended message, while avoiding excessive expression. Finally, it is simply my wish to connect with my audience on at least one level of communication and the video poetry is an incredible way to reach on many levels. Besides, art through art becomes, in turn, a new form of art and often a stimulation not only for the reader/viewer but also for the writer/artist.
As for the content of my videos/poems, I don’t know exactly what the readers want or expect from me. I am neither a world “saviour” nor a coach/therapist of virtues; nor do I follow gleeful trends or harsh sarcastic tendencies. If the world has become now gothic and realism, I believe it is still important to remind ourselves about renaissance and romanticism, as long as the purpose is to be true to oneself and to others, in respect of life and the beauty of its meaning. We are on this earth not to harm each other, but to learn from one another and to share care and love. There is no “mind” limit to the beats of a heart, and we should never be afraid to listen to it and to make sure it survives. Thank you!