Three by Five spends a little more time with Poet Martin Elwell, a New Hampshire based poet and editor. His poems have appeared in Extract(s), The Found Poetry Review, Empty Mirror Magazine of the Arts and other places. He co-edited Bearers of Distance, an anthology of poems by runners from Eastern Point Press, and he is News & Resources Editor for The Found Poetry Review.
VAH: We’ve explored a little about your writing and writing life, how about sharing a little known fact about you will amaze or amuse Three by Five’s readers?
ME: My college friends call me The Wall. The nick name came out of an overweight teenager’s inspiring performance on the intramural soccer field. That’s all you need to know.
VAH: Ahh, fortunate for you, no camera phones! How about a favorite, inspiring quote and why it works for you?
ME: I don’t know who said it first, but I’ve seen it used in reference to a lot of modern, postmodern and contemporary art. When someone says, “I could have done that,” in response to a piece of art in a gallery, a poem on a page, a book on the shelf or whatever it may be, the response is, “yeah…but you didn’t.” I think that response is representative of the art world that we live in today. If you’re waiting to make the perfect piece, waiting to make something totally new or waiting for someone to pluck you out of obscurity, you’re going to be waiting a long time. The only way to bring ideas to fruition is to do it yourself. The only way to get positive energy back from the world is to put positive energy into it. Get out there, create stuff, appropriate and change stuff, make connections, take risks…then no one can tell you that you didn’t.
VAH: And who hasn’t said, or thought, “Oh, I could have done that!” Actually creating and taking risks, that’s the hard step forward so many just don’t take.
What are three random non writing related facts about you?
ME: I can juggle. I run marathons. I was once president of the chess club.
VAH: I’m in awe of juggling. I am a horrible juggler. So, imagine for whatever reason, you are about to have your last meal. What would you have?
ME: This is a tough one. I’m a peanut butter addict, but it’s more of a guilty pleasure than a last meal sort of food. I’ve been on a veggie Pad Thai kick lately, so that comes to mind. I love cheese, though, so maybe a nice flatbread pizza with an IPA.
…now I’m hungry.
I grew up in Massachusetts, so my last meal would probably be brought about by an unfortunate situation related to my excellent driving skills.
VAH: Hmmm, let’s not go there. Back to books. Are you a finish the book once you’ve started kind of reader or leave it for another if don’t like the book sort of reader?
ME: I’m a slow reader. I read mostly poetry, philosophy and non-fiction, and many of the books I read require a lot of my focus and attention to fully grasp what is being presented by the author. Also, I tend to read several books at a time. For example, I like to read a book of poetry while reading a prose book. I like the variety of varying genres, and I also like to have the option to read something lighter or heavier depending on my mood. It could take me two years to finish a book by Nietzsche, or two hours to finish a small anthology of erasure poetry. I don’t finish every book I start, but there is a long separation process before I put a book down for good.
VAH: “A long separation process…” If you return to a book put down long ago, was it left or just delayed? A point to ponder.
Martin, thanks for joining us with Three by Five. We’ll finish up the conversation at the end of the month on the 30th.