Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Continuing with the HWA Poetry Showcase interview series, our second judge is John Palisano. Check out his work and take a moment to read his thoughts, and remember, submissions open up April 1st!

1.      What is your relationship to poetry as a writer? As a reader?

As a writer, poetry has influenced me greatly. I'm always applying lessons I learned from poetry inside fiction. Especially in attempting to say a lot with the least amount ... the 'right' words. As a reader? I've always loved poetry.

2.      Who is the first poet that you remember reading, and what was your reaction to him/her?

Edgar Allen Poe, of course. Elementary school. Those stories scared me, and I couldn't believe stuff so dark was being taught in our shiny little school. Of course, I was hooked. Although I remember when I told my dad, he said, "You mean Bill Murray?" and laughed. I was quite confused until many years later when I saw the resemblance.

3.      Who are some of the poets that you’ve been reading lately and what do you specifically like about their work?

KA Opperman and Ashley Dioses are a pair of poets I discovered through the Los Angeles chapter. They're both very unique, yet, classic. I love how they are using traditional rhyming poetry at times. Opperman's collection is wonderful in that the rhymes are not obvious, and you can tell a lot of thought and work went into the pieces. The overall effect is cumulative and wonderful. Dioses is similar, but more free verse at times. Equally excellent. Another recent favorite is Robert Payne Cabeen. I thought Fearworms was an instant classic. Me and my son read it often, honestly. Equally exquisite is the art he's created, which is unbelievable.

4.      How do you define speculative poetry?

Work that is made that isn't commissioned, and that comes from its maker true and clear.  

5.      When did you find yourself starting to connect with the form? Do you have a preference for style when you write? A particular style you like to read?

I was a young man when I began to enjoy poetry. I loved finding Ezra Pound and Burroughs and Kerouac, as most do in their early teens. Now, most weren't strictly poets, but the entire beat generation was and is fascinating. I've also been working through Bukowski, who one can read over and over again. I was lucky and found a book of poetry from musician Leonard Cohen recently, which is a treasure. Same with Henry Rollins, although his written work is so much darker than most of his spoken word.

6.      Where do you think poetry stands in the marketplace today? Do you think speculative poetry is on the rise, or is it a dead art?

I actually believe poetry is gaining a lot of momentum again. I've seen several young new faces who are very talented and very respectful of the past. I don't like thinking any art is dead. It may not sell billions of copies, but whenever someone reads it, or listens to it, the work is alive and instantly vital to the reader.

7.      What are some of your favorite magazines/presses for poetry, either to publish with or to purchase work?

There isn't one place, in general. Most are from presses I've never heard of, but the poets I have.

8.      What is the one stereotype you think poetry has that you’d like to see it shed?
      That it is just the musings of someone with a broken heart, pleading to the moon, written in the back of a wired notebook during high school history class. Some may be, but the best stuff is generated by a much more diverse group of people.

9.      What advice do you have for fiction writers who want to start experimenting with the art form?

I'd pick up a good poetry collection, and also, search out a good book on poetic form. There are techniques that, even if applied sparingly in places, can really make fiction read and flow better. Also? Listen to the beat during music. Listen to the drums. Listen to the cadence of speech and try and find patterns. Use some of that in your work.

10.  With the HWA Poetry Showcase coming up this April, what are you particularly looking for as a judge?

Works that are true. By that, not something someone thinks is profound and what people want to see, but something that came from their heart. If it's irreverent and fun, that does not make it unworthy. I love classic style. I love free verse. I love short. I love long. Just bring your own favorites. If you love them, hopefully we should, too.

Bio: John Palisano is a writer whose non-fiction has appeared in FANGORIA and DARK DISCOVERIES magazines. He's been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award© four times.  He’s got a pair of books with Samhain Publishing, DUST OF THE DEAD, and GHOST HEART. NERVES is available through Bad Moon. NIGHT OF 1,000 BEASTS is coming soon. John Palisano’s short stories have appeared in anthologies from PS Publishing, Terror Tales, Lovecraft eZine, Horror Library, Bizarro Pulp, Written Backwards, Dark Continents, Darkscribe, DarkFuse, Dark House, and many more. Say ‘hi’ at: http://www.amazon.com/author/johnpalisano and www.johnpalisano.com and www.facebook.com/johnpalisano and www.twitter.com/johnpalisano 
The next interview will be with myself, and it will be conducted by David E. Cowen. Stay tuned!

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