Photo Credit: Mark Hanford
Interview with Marc Zegans
Thank you for the chance to interview you!
Here are the questions!
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I started writing plays, radio plays and short screenplays when I was a kid. I started writing poetry in my late twenties. The muse came to me one sleepless night when I was in graduate school in public policy. When the morning light came, I found that I had a well-formed poem.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?
A: My early inspirations were folks who did spoken word bits over music. Tom Waits’ emotional weather report had a seminal effect on me. Long-John Baldry’s “Conditional Release” was another. I find today that I’m most inspired by poets whom I’m working with or know. When you enter into someone’s process you learn a lot.
Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?
A: I tend to write poetry during the day, poetry fairly often at night, except when I’m traveling. When I’m on a train or a plane, I find that the rhythm of language starts beating through me and that I write while in motion. I also write when I’ve got a moment at a cafe. A good example is a piece that I wrote last summer, “The Books I wish I Had Beside My Bed.” I was asked to write a piece for a blog that explores what books writers keep by their bedsides. That day while eating lunch the poem formed in my head, and it was published shortly after. Here’s a link. Books by Marc Zegans’ Bed
Q: Why do you write?
A: I write because I have to, and because I like the process of shaping language into verse. There almost a tactile, hands in clay quality to shaping verse that I find very appealing. It’s far different than shaping prose—more deeply embodied. I think of my spoken word pieces as ephemeral sculpture, filling a volume with words on air, then changing shape the sound waves decay. Writing with that same sense of making sculpture gives me great satisfaction.
Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
A: I love reading quotes from writers and I’m often inspired in the moment by them, but my memory is a sieve for such things, so none spring immediately to mind.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
A: Write with joy and abandon! write freely and often. Share your work early. Decide what feedback is useful and apply it to your work. A second piece of advice is to take apart pieces of writing that appeal to you. Come to terms with the author by figuring out how he or she does it. Every time you do that, you’ll have a new arrow in your quiver.
Q: Do you have any published books/chapbooks you’d like to talk about?
A: My latest book, The Underwater Typewriter, was published by Pelekinesis in September 2015. My publisher gave me the rare opportunity to put together a longer and larger format book than is typical of poetry collections today. Putting together this collection enabled me to shape a work that showed the range and variety of my craft as a poet, rather than having to limit it to a single theme or approach to form. In shaping the book, I imagined it as having a sonic through line, like an extended instrumental solo—in particular, the kind of solo that someone like Carlos Santana does, deeply focused, spiritually engaged and fully connected to the moment. How does one make a book like that I wondered? When a reader recently said that she had never considered the possibility that a book of poems could be a page turner, I felt that I had achieved this result. The poems there can be read slowly, their layers unpacked and explored, but you can also read through it page to page, feeling the sound, the pulse, the changing patterns and come away having had a connected experience. Pelekinesis: “The Underwater Typewriter” by Marc Zegans
In June I have a small collection, Boys in the Woods, coming out on Crane Maiden Press. For me this is a very special project. The press is releasing a series of limited edition, hand-made volumes driven by the text but incorporating images and sound. In the case of Boys in The Woods, the project includes poems on that theme, lyrics to a song recorded by Peg Simone (with an mp3 download link printed in the volume), and photographs by Dan Barnhill. Vince Curtis who has a superb bookmaking company, Vers Libris, will be producing this handcrafted, numbered edition. I’m absolutely thrilled by the collaboration here. We’ll be releasing it at Swift Hibernian Lounge in New York on June 14th at 7:00PM.