03/16 Poet of the Month: David Bankson
We’ve done it again. We’ve found a poet you should be reading. Daily. David Bankson has a way with words that practically sing in your ears. That is just one of the reasons we chose him as our Poet of the Month. He allowed us an exclusive interview, available to you right here, for the rest of the month!
Name: David Bankson
Preferred Genre: Modern Poetry
David Bankson is a full-time autodidact with a lifelong passion for poetry, philosophy, and linguistics. His works have been featured online at Thank you for Swallowing, Walking is Still Honest, and Indiana Voice Journal. His greatest influences are John Ashbery and William Carlos Williams, though he’s secretly quite fond of Shel Silverstein. More of his work can be found at https://www.facebook.com/davidthewordsmith.
Hello. We are delighted to honor you as our Poet of the Month here on Our Write Side. The pleasure is mine. I have never been interviewed before, so this is exciting.
First, let’s discuss your writing… Sure, let’s!
What inspires you to write poetry? I leave myself open to inspiration at all waking moments. Linguistics and philosophy are common subjects I write about, but most of my poetry is metapoetic; that is, poetry about poetry.
What does being creative mean to you? All creativity is a form of problem-solving, so being creative means forming original ideas to accomplish something. I find that placing rules and restrictions on my poetry as I’m writing enhances the creativity of the piece because it gives me specifically “problems” to solve. The process of solving shows me what I would never have seen otherwise.
Which do you enjoy more: the writing, revising, or sharing of a poem? Definitely the initial writing process. When I’m in the zone, typing away furiously, deep in the linguistic soup, I feel like things are clicking into place. It’s how I find order in a chaotic world.
Can you describe the time when you first realized writing poetry was something you had to do? There may not be a single moment that I realized this. I began writing poetry around age 13. I don’t remember what pushed me to try it, but I wrote stories already. By high school I was addicted, though more to the praise from my peers than from the process itself. I had a glimmer of talent, but I was busy resting on my laurels. It was age 30 that I decided to take this interest seriously, but I think I knew for a long time before that it was something I couldn’t stop myself from doing.
Do you have a ritual or routine you must complete or have while you are writing? No, I don’t like placing limits on when or where I can write. I always have a document open on my phone for taking down notes or snippets of sentences I hear throughout the day. That’s less a “routine” than a good habit for all writers to force themselves into.
What are you trying to communicate with your writing? That “meaning” in poetry isn’t limited to the author’s ego…the reader takes part in the meaning of every line as much as the author. Meaning is fluid and depends on several factors. That’s the true beauty of poetry: no matter what the author meant, the reader is never wrong in their own interpretation. As Emily Dickinson wrote, poetry is a house of possibilities.
What are you currently working on? I have no big projects at this time. I finish a few poems per week, but otherwise I’m learning how to market myself … not something I am skilled at. I mainly just want to improve at poetry, so I’ve focused on taking poetry college classes online and reading all of the poetry I can get my hands on.
Do you have any works published or coming soon? Yes, I was recently accepted for publication in the Indiana Voice Journal and Walking Is Still Honest Press.
What makes poetry “good?” Good poetry evokes ideas, memories, feelings. Good poetry pays attention to itself, its sounds, its visual form. Good poetry breaks rules with purpose. Good poetry could never be written as prose. Good poetry demands you read it again and again, each time unfolding new meanings.
Thanks for discussing your writing. Now, let’s talk a little bit about you…
When you aren’t writing, what do you do? Reading, hiking, gardening, or stuck in a video game.
If you could have a do-over, would you choose your “calling” or non-writing job again today? No, I would go back and choose to do what I enjoy instead of what I thought society and family expected out of me.
Tell us about a favorite childhood memory. As weird as this may sound, reading books in the woods while camping. I have always had an affinity for the forest. Nothing is more perfect to me than relaxing with a book to the music of trees swaying and birds singing.
Name one poet most people don’t know about, but should. John Ashbery, without a doubt. He’s a huge influence on my work.
Where do you see yourself as a poet in five years? Hopefully published in literary magazines! I’ve always wanted to see my work featured in Poetry Magazine…all of the greatest modern poets showed up there.
How about sharing your favorite poet? The genius of William Carlos Williams is not to be understated. He reminds me to think outside of the box and try the unexpected, and that simplicity is often more powerful than being mellifluous .
If you could pass along only one piece of advice to other poets, what would it be? Forget about muses…it’s only a metaphor for finding inspiration. Make the world your muse, and you’ll never lack for something to say.
And in conclusion, would you please share your favorite poem penned by yourself and tell us why it is so special to you? It’s rather recent, but my list poem “How to Live Off the Land” is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only does it take place within the forest, one of my favorite places, but the entire poem was an experiment for me. I’ve read it two dozen times, and still every line excites me.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions today.
As you can see, David is as unique as his poetry. Check out his social media sites today and become his newest fan.