Interview with Poet Jean Buschmann

1) What is the theme of your poem?

The title is a double-entendre. The real GIANT moment refers to the unforseen and unbelievably fortuitious kind gesture of a stranger. The experience stayed with me for all these years because the man was not a scalper, he just wound up with two extra tickets when friends had to cancel. So what were the chances that I’d oddly declare we’d get tickets once we turned the corner – and have it actually happen! Of course, what I didn’t mention in the poetic narraitive was that he didn’t try to pad the price. He simply charged me face value.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I love a creative challenge. So when it arrived in my email inbox, I couldn’t resist! – Especially since the stated goal was to share a positive and uplifting experience during these challenging quarantined times.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Since I was a child. But not often, and mostly for assignments. The best of which was for an essay exam on Shakespeare’s MACBETH. The English Lit. professor offered the class the option of trying to write a poem instead. I dove right in! Later she confessed that she didn’t think anyone would dare risk their grade on a time-pressued longshot. – That was the proudest “A+” I ever received.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

A certain carpenter from Nazerth. I’m hoping it can be arranged.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

It’s always fun to share work with fellow creatives.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

Yes. I do freelance marcom and copywriting for a living. (As well as video production and editing). I’m also an award-winning screenwriter hoping to have my most recent feature produced. It’s called LOVE THY NEIGHBOR and it’s both timely and socially-relevant.

7) What is your passion in life?

Making a difference in some tangible way. Creatively, I’d love to tell riveting and socially-relevant stories that pack a powerful punch. That would be a dream come true, for sure!

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Allison Kampf


POEM:

BORED in San Jose, our home in the South Bay, we ventured to The City that day.
– It wasn’t ordinary, no way!
Sunny and bright, not a cloud in sight.
– For the foggy City By The Bay, that’s rare for May, let alone April Fools’ Day!
But it was no joke, so we were seriously stoked at the thought of some fun in the sun.
The grand opening of PacBell Park was our mark – an exhibition game between the
Yankees and Giants. Otherwise known as “The Spankees,” to their defiants.
As a native New Yorker raised in Queens, it was The Mets for whom I placed all bets.
But as if to put our love to the test, my Nor-Cal man loved The Bronx Bombers best.
– And no, that’s not jest.
So that was the original aim of our quest, but before long we’d learn it might not be best.
– Since such seemed the goal of all the rest.
And so, with slightly deflated hearts, we parked by The Palace of Fine Arts.
– Far far away from where we’d hoped to spend that day.
We then began to stroll around, stopping at every fascinating sight we found.
– Talking and laughing along the way, we could hardly believe we’d walked to the Bay!
Not ’til we saw my blistered feet, were we finally ready to take a seat.
That’s when we noticed something funny – all the ATMs were out of money!
“Uh-oh” we said to one another, ‘cuz neither of us had stashed cash for the other.
Hungry, with nearly no money at all, there was not even a cab for us to call.
That’s when something inside me said, “It’s time to get up and keep moving ahead!”
To that, my hubby scratched his head, not at all sure how I’d endure.
But despite my feet, I wasn’t ready to admit defeat.
As we neared the revered new stadium, out of my mouth came a strange shout…
“When we turn the corner, we’ll get tickets to the game!” – To which my man jokingly retorted,
“Are you insane?”
Then to his shock, I locked eyes on a smiling stranger, who waved me over to his Range Rover.
“I’ve got two tickets, if you need ’em.” He said. “That’d be great…if you can wait.” And so, I explained
our twisted fate.
The stranger stepped right up to the plate. Without so much as a pause, as if completely compelled
by our cause.
When he jotted down his address, I knew that we’d been truly blessed. Then I noticed his wife was
stressed.
So I smiled reassuringly, as if to say – “The check will soon be on the way.”
…And that’s the true story of that April 1st day!

A poetic memory by

Interview with Poet Howard W. Robertson

1) What is the theme of your poem?

Glory as Pindar understood it

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The beauty of the moment and the pathos of life

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Since the age of 17 or in other words 55 years

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Walt Whitman

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

Love for my poem

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I’ve published ten books of poetry and three books of fiction. Also, my one screenplay is titled THE FORGE and has received the following honors:

Bucharest Film Awards – Selected;
Zed Fest – Semi-Finalist
The Monthly Film Festival – Finalist
Chicago Screenplay Awards – Selected
Peachtree Village International Film Festival – Selected
Screenplay Festival – Semi-Finalist
All-Genre Screenplay Contest – Selected
Bucharest Film Festival – Semi-Finalist
ScreenCraft Drama Contest – Quarterfinalist
New York City International Screenplay Awards – Selected
Pitch Now Screenplay Competition – Finalist
Page Turner Screenplays, Feature 100 – Quarterfinalist
SOMEDAY… Screenwriting Competition – Selected
Underground FEEDBACK Screenplay Festival – Semi-Finalist
New York City International Screenplay Awards – Selected
Miami Screenplay Awards – Selected
Beverly Hills Film Festival – Selected
Sunrise International Screenwriting Awards – Selected
Drama inc. Screenplay Competition – Selected
Circus Road Screenplay Contest – Finalist

Logline for THE FORGE: Isaac McClure is caught between his mother’s Ehattesaht world and his father’s Scottish. Born at Fort Astoria in 1824, he conceals his Native American identity to come back over the Oregon trail in 1853. He becomes part of racist pioneer society, is outed by chance, and an intense peripeteia ensues.

7) What is your passion in life?

Breathing

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

After football practice, Dave Malloy, assistant
coach, was sitting in the office of the coach, Jim
Shelby / I was there as well; I don’t remember why
/ without the slightest warning, zany Dave erupted,
bellowed, slammed the tabletop with both his hefty
hands, ejaculating loudly these impassioned words,
“I want to fuck!” / Malloy repeated this, and Shelby
shushed him, since a teenage boy was present, me /
soon after that, Malloy became the coach at New
Geneva High, our bitter rival, we of Fairfield High /
the summer just before my senior season, 1964, I
had an easy job delivering bouquets, arrangements,
wreaths, and other floral merchandise from Baxter’s
Blossoms, located in Fairfield but providing flowers
for all greater New Geneva / my delivery van pulled
up at New Geneva High one afternoon, and I began
unloading many floral products / suddenly Malloy
was there, just grinning at me crazily, eyes merrily
agleam / we talked a bit of this and that, not even
mentioning we’d meet next autumn on opposing
sides of gridiron combat / early in the New Geneva
game that fall, we punted on fourth down / I was the
long-snapper and could release downfield before the
other guys who had to block first / when the punt
returner caught the kick, I was already nearing him
at top speed / suddenly I caught some stream of
energy (let’s call it Ki) and flowed right through the
running back, depositing his body in a broken heap
at Coach Malloy’s large feet while I just trotted off
unscathed and nonchalant / my soft eyes sensed his
crazy stare and joyous grin directed at me all the
way across the field to what was now the line of
scrimmage / next day in the local paper he was
quoted, “Well, I knew when Douglas tore apart my
halfback early on that we were in for one hell of a
game!” / that was the scene of brutal glory, that
god-given moment, gleaming possibly forever /
Pindar said, “What’s man? A shadow’s dream.
God-given gleaming comes, and life is bright.”

Interview with Poet Robert Drusetta (Once Upon a Crooked Time…)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Robert Drusetta: Everyone is unique, outside and in, but we can co-exist in harmony.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I wanted to write a fun nonsense poem that has disability as a subtext theme

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

On and off, over 30 years

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

Exposure and to share a fun poem with an audience..

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I have written several screenplays, have published three e-books and am in the process of polishing up my first novel.

7) What is your passion in life?

To make a difference in whatever I do. 

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Hannah Ehman

Interview with Poet LannaEvolved (LOCKED TREASURE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

LannaEvolved: The theme is the unpredictability of life within a universal existence. Everyone has their own unique experience, yet each person somehow manages to crossover with someone else’s without knowing it. Living shared experiences.

The theme is rooted in the reality that we are one with the universe and we can know what other people are thinking without really knowing a thing. What I mean is, Self implies other.

We are not strangers in this world. We feel our own existence alongside others and that is absolute.

In fact, we need others to complete our humanity.

Loneliness, despair, the desperation to feel freedom while continuing to misunderstand our own unmet needs, the differences between and among who we are, and the physical and emotional desire for love and to be loved on the other side of those proclaimed differences are also relevant.

These themes create a unified fabric for being ourselves, the precious moments we choose to spend with another, and the essence of what binds us to a society that keeps us stuck from achieving our goals and pursuing our passions in so many ways within all of our shared communities.

In this piece, I wanted to paint a picture of not only what separates us, but of the qualities that hold us together.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The sheer will to explore the “role of a character portrayed as an outsider desiring to feel what it feels like to be appreciated captivated my mind.

I had the desire to get underneath the meaning of people’s thoughts but also their actions and what they go through when they experience a loss of any kind, primarily the greatest loss to humankind, which to me is love itself.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry for over 15 years

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Judy Garland

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

As a professional actress, I wanted to see my work come alive off the page through hearing it read aloud. In addition to writing my own book of poems, it gives me joy to know people will be able to enjoy this piece as a teaser before the book is released.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I write scripts, and have written several educational scripts for high school students and staff to use for training and therapeutic intervention via the drama therapy and poetry model I created

7) What is your passion in life?

To continue using my art as a form of social narrative that can change and be recreated through the healing power of performance and poetry combined impacting the lives of vulnerable youth and families around the world.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Interview with Poet H. W. Robertson

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

H. W. Robertson: Hope’s and my love is like the harmony of the sea and sky.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I love Hope, and we were at Cannon Beach, a favorite spot.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

55 years

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Walt Whitman

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

It seemed like a good opportunity.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I’ve published ten books of poems, three books of fiction, and a screenplay.

7) What is your passion in life?

Staying alive

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Carina Cojeen

At ocean’s edge

I pledge

a solemn oath

to both

the sea and sky

that I

shall be as true

with you

in harmony

with me.

Interview with Poet Jason Yearick

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Jason Yearick: The chaotic nature of thoughts, images, and ideas being forced into linear time, expectation versus actualization and the mutability of the abstract molded into a concrete form.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The need to write despite not having the time I wanted to do so. I thought and still do, that I’m not the only person who wants more time to write, so I wrote this piece. If I didn’t write the piece all of the words, images and ideas flowing into me would just pour out and be lost. This piece was written to encourage other artists to create in spite of their circumstances. For good or bad.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Over 20 years.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

King Solomon.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

When I first started writing poetry it was all for the spoken word. I’ve been the only poet to read my work. I thought it would be cool to hear someone else read it.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I write articles, analytical pieces and whatever comes to mind. I have some rough draft screenplays and such sitting around.

7) What is your passion in life?

I am passionate about my role in God’s plan for humanity, writing and encouraging people to speak life one another.

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Carina Cojeen

Words are
falling,
tumbling, to
the ground
enjambments
spilling down
railways
without
a sound-
poets, are
whimpering,
writers,
simpering,
readers
wrestling
words
roughly,
regretting
this word
squall
realizing-
this poet,
has
abused
them
all.

Interview with Poet David Dephy

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

David Dephy: Pain and hope, strength and kindness, our memories and forgiveness, because — some day — we will remember nothing of our enemies, but that killing silence of our friends.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The same things which I mentioned above – pain, hope, strength, forgiveness and kindness.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I was 21 years old when I started writing poetry and prose.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Only one person? Oh no, let me share the dinner with Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake and Jesus Christ… and one more… David Gilmour (from Pink Floyd) please if it’s not too late and if it’s not very much against of your rules add him in my dinner guests’ list … please.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

I think this is the new dimension of understanding my own work, new sound, new view and it’s cool. It’s very cool.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

Yes I am a poet, novelist, the short stories writer, essayist and the painter.

7) What is your passion in life?

Freedom. ‘Cause only the Freedom means the Poetry for me, and everything.

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Carina Cojeen

After centuries of living with nothing, but my love to you, friends,

I found myself surrounded by the luxury of feelings and I am safe

now, I am alive, I am breathing again, but where were you, my friends,

when I was broken? I am calm now, but where were you my friends

when the emptiness encircled me and I was afraid? Where are the friends

when I need them most? I was yearning for knowledge, but from this

day on, I don’t want to know a thing except for, will I be able or not

to love you again, friends. Maybe everything and maybe nothing that I

have given or maybe not given away will ever be really as mine, as my

own breath? Hello friends, I found you after centuries of living with nothing

but my expectations — our life is what our expectations are. I thank you all.

David Dephy

January 2, 2020