Name: Daniel Ari
Location: Richmond, California, USA (near Berkeley)
Blogs: IMUNURI, cohosted with Scooter Cascadia. We post a prompt every Monday, and though the contributors list is currently closed, people can post responses in the comment section.
FightsWithPoems is my personal blog for a wider range of topics relating to poetry and writing, and is also more sporadic.
How do you know Cara? I met Cara on Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides blog, I think in April 2009.
How long have you been writing poetry? I’ve been writing since I was a wee one. My brother Phil and I produced one issue of “Ugly’s Illustrated,” a magazine for monsters. That was my first poetry publication. “Goblins coming down the hall. / Spiders creeping up the wall. / A ghost is singing a scary song, / and you won’t be alive for very long.”
I started writing in earnest in high school some time around my junior year, because of a difficult crush. By the time I graduated and got to college, I had formed the habit of keeping a poetry journal at all times, and I have been writing since then. It’s been about 28 years of devoted poetry practice.
In the mid-90s, I went through a phase of sending out poems for publication every week, and I landed about a dozen, though I found the results anticlimactic. A few contributors copies would come months later, but there was no reading or community. But I had a lot of friends who also wrote and I found and then formed writing groups from about 1997 through today. Between those sessions, now monthly, and the vibrant online poetry community at my blog and Poetic Asides, I feel very fulfilled by the practice.
What kind of poetry do you write? Any kind. I don’t limit myself. For a while there, I was devotedly writing queron, a 17-line form I developed, but then I wanted to find a way to write quicker and looser, with more storytelling, so I started doing that. I love rhyme and rhythm, but I often use these spices so subtlety that the poems might be taken for free verse. I enjoy writing from other perspectives, telling other people’s stories. I also like to explore the deep questions of ontology, spirit, and capital-l Life in poetry.
Mainly I like to think of poetry practice as a wide open field where I can do anything I can imagine. Every poem is something new.
Please share a poem:
“For Richardson Bay”
I’m going to spend the next part of my path
away from you. Farther away. It’s not
my choice. There’s good in it, but I’d rather
stay near. While I surge in and out on BART*
you’ll keep languishing in your endless bath.
Some extraordinary day when it’s hot—
it may be years from now—I’ll come across
the bridges to walk with you and visit
about those days and these days. Eight years passed
in your embrace, breathing your marshy breath.
When summer comes, how will I not miss you
in the city with all its distractions?
Union Square swamps with shoppers and tourists
making each day’s commercial commotion,
but there may be days or weeks I forget
the surge and suck of water in motion
though, so close, the bay kisses the ocean.
*Bay Area Rapid Transit
Daniel… being way too modest!!! I do believe that Daniel Ari is a true Renaissance man… He has shared some performance which are incredible and of course we all know his Poetic Aside poetry – There is a brimming love of all life that bubbles – an ironic stance that is both intellectual and extraordinarily human… One of my favorite poets … YAY Daniel… delighted to see you here signature umbrella and all 🙂
Hear, hear! What Pearl said! A true Renaissance man, indeed! Daniel, you KNOW you’re one of my favorite poets. And “Uglies Illustrated?” Why is that not surprising? What a hoot! LOVE the goblins poem! If you’ve never seen it, you MUST check out the children’s book “The MonsterOlogist, A Memoir in Rhyme” (Ghostwritten (LOL!) by Bobbi Katz and brilliantly illustrated by Adam McCauley). I bet you’d want a copy for yourself.
Anyway, thanks to Cara for featuring the fabulous Mr. Ari!
Enjoyed the interview — and love both poems, Daniel! I feel for Cape Cod what you’ve written in “For Richardson Bay”. Years may pass between visits, still it feels like coming home. Thanks for sharing these! 🙂
Love Daniel’s work, and had the privilege of hearing him read something at an open mic here in Vegas this past month. Truly a spoken word artist. Not to mention an all around wonderful human being who married a gorgeous, talented soul. Just two incredibly fun people to hang out with. 🙂
PS: I love your monster poem, Daniel. You’ve always been a little twisted, I see. 😉
Love this interview – thank you Cara and Daniel!