Dan Leicht is an author and poet who has helped me with many posts in the past. Whether it is writing about love or sharing his favorite place to write, Dan shows incredible passion and energy for his craft. He is also a fantastic poet and it is my pleasure to interview him today.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 5’8, a Virgo, and really good at the N-64 version of Super Smash Bros. (Also Mario Kart – I call Yoshi). I write for a local magazine called 585 Magazine, which is a lot of fun. I write a lot of fiction as well as poetry. I also drink a lot of coffee; probably unhealthy amounts…should look into that.
2. When did you start writing poetry?
I’ve always been interested in poetry, but it became more prominent in my writing habits into my teens. I have dozens of composition notebooks filled with poems I haven’t even looked at in years. Just thinking about those notebooks makes me feel old…
3. Do you have a favorite poet/poem?
There’s a lot of great poets out there, and with some of the classes I’ve taken in college I’ve had the chance to meet a few of them. My favorite however has always been Charles Bukowski. Maybe it’s just that he’s more approachable – his poems often time reading like short stories.
His poem “How is your heart?” contains my favorite line of his, and one of my favorite lines ever “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” – This is a line I think about quite often as life throws all those crazy punches at you. Dory’s version of this “Just keep swimming” is also quite powerful.
4. Does music inspire you? What kind?
Music is more often than not on whenever I’m writing. A lot of ambient music makes it easier to drift away and get writing done. I’ll often listen to the same playlist on my phone whenever I’m writing. Hearing the same songs brings me back into the mindset fairly quickly. I’ll add new songs to the list every now and then to shake things up. An artist I find really helpful to listen to while writing is Lindsey Stirling – as of late I’ve just been putting “Roundtable Rival” on repeat (currently listening to it while answering these questions).
5. Do you write on the computer or in a notebook?
A bit of both. I find it helpful to write in different places sometimes, so if I’m travelling somewhere or writing outside I’ll bring my notebook. If I’m at the apartment I’ll usually write on the laptop, often times feels easier to write on the laptop, the words feel a bit closer (if that makes sense?). And writing during my lunch breaks at work I’ll use the computer (two monitors! It’s like the future or something).
6. If you could write a poem anywhere, where would it be?
On a plane heading home from a hypothetical book signing to go back and see my hypothetical family. Could happen someday…
7. What do you enjoy most about writing poetry?
The freedom of it. You can just start with a line of something random and see where it takes you – even if you end up deleting that line in the end. There’s also that sense of accomplishment you get when you’ve finished writing something, whether it be a poem or story, whatever. No matter what kind of day you’ve had as long as something has been written it’s not all bad.
8. If you could hang out with any poet, who would it be?
Brian Turner. He was one of the visiting poets last year to my college. I met him briefly, but he was a great person and I feel like he’d have a lot to offer in terms of advice and the craft of poetry. He also gave me his white pen he was using to sign some of his books (his title page was black), he used the pen to sign my kindle case and gave it to me for other visiting authors to use – got a few more signatures before the end of the semester, and plan to get many more!
9. If you could physically fight a fellow poet, from any point in time, who would they be?
Bukowski. He always talks about getting into all these fights in his stories and his poems, makes you wonder how tough he really was. Plus after the fight we’d probably have a drink and hangout, so it’s like getting a second choice for question #8.
10. Have you read or performed poetry live at slams or open mic?
I’ve spoken at one poetry reading and it was fun, but haven’t done another since. I’m a talkative person, but not necessarily the most comfortable in front of audiences – however big or small they may be. I did open with a joke though, so maybe my calling is actually stand-up…
11. Why does nothing rhyme with orange?
Door-hinge, George, porridge – in a poem if it’s close enough it totally counts.
12. Do you post your poetry online?
I used to post new poems often, almost daily at one point, but have since been submitting more to various outlets trying to get published. Still every now and then I’ll post poems to either of my websites. Posted a random one the other day actually, “written” by my Hank Saga character Hank Carpenter, which allowed the poem to be weird and nonsensical and really fun(ny?).
13. Do you put your writing into pictures to share on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?
Not usually. The poem for question #18 would fit nicely though.
14. What is the most difficult poetry to write? Are there any forms you dislike?
Forms aren’t so much a problem; they can be a challenge but also push you to try something different. Writing poems to be judged in a poetry workshop though… is hard, because you want to bring your best and may overthink some things.
15. Do you believe anyone can learn to write poetry? Do you think anyone can enjoy reading it?
I’d like to think writers have some magical talent that is bestowed upon them in the womb, but that’s probably not the case. If you practice anything enough you can become great at it – and yes, that is a challenge for anyone willing to face me in Super Smash Bros. (I call Kirby)
Reading poetry is just a matter of finding the right author for you. I read a lot, but often find myself going to Bukowski if I just want to fully relax and read something – like after a crappy day, or when I’ve had work + night class and feel super drained.
16. Where do vanishing objects go? Remember to phrase your answer in the form of a riddle.
If something vanishes, is it truly lost?
If a dove sings, does it read Robert Frost?
17. What project(s) are you currently working on, poetry or otherwise?
Editing a novel on and off, but have been working more recently on new poems. “Blissfire” a while back was a way to separate myself from the first novel I wrote (currently have two written, both unpublished). Lately though I’ve been writing poetry like crazy – and hoping this stride doesn’t run out for a while longer.
18. Would you like to share a poem with us today?
I sure will! This is one was posted to DanLeicht.com back in July.
A Dozen Red Roses – By Dan Leicht
Wilting roses rest
On top of half eaten fast food and beer cans
In a park at night
Salted drops dry slowly beside a bench
As footsteps disappear into the distance.
Find more about Dan Leicht:
On Twitter: twitter.com/Deeliopunk
On Facebook: facebook.com/Deeliopunk