Poet Interview #25 – David Bankson

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?

Prose and poetry were both automatic hobbies for me by age 13. I’ve always spent a great deal of my time reading, writing, or hanging out in the woods. Much of my early writing was influenced by fantasy novels and nature. My first two poems were actually about dragons! As I got more serious about writing and read jaw-dropping poetry from the last 200 years, my poetry gravitated toward modernism. I get much of my influence from William Carlos Williams, John Ashbery, and Kenneth Goldsmith. Emily Dickinson is a profound inspiration.

How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?

The majority of my poetry is written on my smart phone. I note down phrases and juxtapositions I notice throughout the day, and I mix them up when I have free time to see if anything sparks. I’m always in “On” mode for writing, that way it feels less like work, more like play. Anything you see or sense can be your “muse”…I once wrote a poem about my laundry basket.

Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?

Absolutely. As a teenager, I thought of poetry as a medium for excessive sentimentality. Now I see the truth: poetry is a way to make meaning through form, despite the subject matter. I learned from Ezra Pound that what you write in poetry must be possible only through poetry. If my poetry could have been presented as prose then I know I haven’t been creative, at least not as a poet.

Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?

Facebook has been a great boon to my writing quality. I am in a few critique groups there that have helped transform much of my work, including the groups “Wordsmiths With Lizard Skin” and “Rattle’s Workshop.” Having a community of fellow writers to interact with daily is a motivating and uplifting force for me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

I am almost finished with “She Sees Metaphors” by Bryce David Salazar. It’s one of those books that makes a writer say, “I wish I had thought to write that!” The main character is forced to see everyone (but herself) as a literal metaphor, but nobody knows she has this “curse.” It’s a fascinating story that I recommend everyone read.

What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?

Read more poetry than you write. And don’t be afraid of honest opinions on your work; remember, it’s a critique of the poem, not of you as a person. Above all else, remember to have fun! Without that, creativity doesn’t happen.


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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott serves as an editor for The Peregrine Muse, Happy Hour Hallelujah, and Novelmasters.

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