Stay tuned all month for poet interviews in honor of National Poetry Month.
1) Why poetry?
Poetry keeps me alive. Poetry is like rain. Poems work like a spell or some soft vivid magic. They help. Poetry gives me strength when I’m bottomed out. Poetry holds a power to activate; Poems have given me hope when I’ve had none. There are poems I’ve carved into my blood; they’re a part of me, I cycle through their language every day.
2) Do you feel like poetry is more or less important & relevant today?
I think poetry’s always been important; it’s a spirit balm; an elixir; a riot; a form of living. Relevancy is irrelevant, everyone needs poetry.
3) Tell us about one poet who has greatly influenced you as a writer and a thinker.
Ronaldo V. Wilson’s relentless body of work is a constant source of motivation to focus one’s energy; to expand beyond the page; to put the work in, in a real way. His ongoing forays into drawing, paint; film, and new media has expanded the plane of what’s possible for a poet to inhabit/illuminate/become. His most recent book, Farther Traveler is just the tip of the iceberg.
4) Tell us about one lesser-known contemporary poet who you’d like more people to know about.
In fact, you need to read more Xicanx/Latinx writing period.
5) Share with us one of your recent poems and tell us a little bit about its context.
Brooklyn Magazine just published a poem called “Don’t tell my mother if they kill me #2” It’s a poem that means a lot of things, to me. Shortly after the election, I found myself extremely depressed and overwrought with this sense that, at any moment I could be murdered at the hands of white men. It felt far more imminent with White Supremacy out from under its hood; I started feeling like I knew Black Lavender Milk wasn’t really something for my mom. Nor was it necessarily an easily accessible text for my family. This left me more than wanting, but needing to write something for my family. I went back to poetry. Or at least I tried to. I started writing this series of poems “Don’t tell my mother if they kill me” because I realized that I’d rather she didn’t know, and so these poems came out. And maybe that’s why poetry, right? I’d rather give my mother a pile of poems than bad news, because poems can offer something like, hope and understanding; poems can end a drought. Maybe these poems aren’t just for my mother and family, but yours too.
Angel Dominguez is a Latinx poet and performance artist; the author of Desgraciado (Econo Textual Objects, 2017), and Black Lavender Milk (Timeless Infinite Light, 2015). His work can be found or is forthcoming in Berkeley Poetry Review, Brooklyn Magazine, Elderly, Eleven Eleven, FENCE, NY Tryant, Queen Mobs Teahouse, and other places. Follow him on Twitter @dandelionglitch or irl the redwoods, or ocean