Sunday, March 11, 2012

Michael Torres Poet

Augie: Today I would like to introduce one of Pomona, California’s up and coming new poet, Michael Torres. Michael T as I call him is from the city of Pomona. He is a graduate of Mount San Antonio College and a sophomore at the University of Riverside where there he majors in Creative Writing. 
Welcome, Michael T    

Michael T: Hey, What's good? Thanks for the chance to interview. Appreciate it.

Augie: Michael T and I met in Professor Cynthia Prochaska’s poetry writing class at Mount San Antonio College, he was one of the many bright and creative students I met in this class, including poet Michaelsun and Charlotte San Juan.

I realize that this interview is different from the usual interviews that involved the genre of mystery fiction, but I felt this is a young man that we need to pay attention to. Now is the time to meet him and read some of his work.

Michael T you have a new release book called “The Beautiful Distraction,” why this title for a book of poetry?

Michael T: Hahaha well... The original idea around the title was a woman I was dating at the time when a rush of poetry was coming to me. Then it meant more to me than a woman (maybe because we had stopped dating). The "beautiful distraction" became life. Life was and is so beautiful but it sometimes distracts me from my writing time.

Augie: I can understand that. When I’m in the mode of poetry or mystery writing, or even course writing I sort of forget about everything else. In fact I lose the conscious of time and focus on the piece at hand.

It took a while for my copy of “The Beautiful Distraction,” published by Finishing Line Press to arrive. I thought that it was very brave of you as well as smart to get commitments of purchases, before the release date.

I love the poem, “who am i,” this is the question many of us have asked ourselves, but why the lowercase I? Is this significant?

Michael T: Yes it is significant. Whenever I lower case a letter in a poem it is definitely on purpose. The "i" is a representation of self, self worth even, at the time I was writing that particular piece. The capitol "I" is proud and stands tall, extending arms and legs for the world to see. The lower case on the other hand feels unimportant or confused. The dot is the head hanging low.

Augie: Wow, I never thought of this before. One has always been told that ‘I’ have to be capitalized; but the way you (as a poet) describes the ‘i’ makes sense. Many times we all feel the small ‘I’ yet we are forced to stand out there all alone as though we are strong.    

Who is your mentor, and how has this mentor helped you?

Michael T: Wow. I guess all the poets I'd read when I was a child, from Dickinson to Hughes. I learned through their work. But when I hit college it began with Bruce Williams.

Augie: I loved Bruce, such a brilliant teacher and lover of poetry.

Michael T: He taught me structure. He showed me how to sharpen the skill I didn't know I had, then Mr. John Brantingham, of course.

Augie: John too is an excellent teacher and an advocate of talent.

Michael T: Without him I wouldn't have known how to go about even publishing. Plus I have modeled at least one poem, if not many more, off of his work.

Augie: What an honor. Where can people purchase “The Beautiful Distraction?” Do you have a website?

Michael T: They can purchase it from me or on the publisher’s website: I believe it will be on Amazon in a month.

Augie: Fantastic. What’s up next for Michael T? I know you do live performances, what venues are in stored for the audience?

Michael T: Right now I'm very focused on school so I usually do open mics at UCR or in Pomona. I'm also almost always rollin with the people from SGVlitfest to all of their functions.

Augie: That’s the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, which is spearheaded by John Brantingham, Scott Creeley and Ann Brantingham. I understand there is a future festival coming next February 2013. I suppose I will have to interview John Brantingham soon.

Michael T: So yeah. Oh and I have my book release party, March 24 at the DBA Wine-bar in downtown Pomona. That will be a great night.

Augie: I’m looking forward to that night. Could you please share at least three of your poems with our audience?

Michael T: Sure.

The Bike Ride

It's that kind of day where
the fire hydrants are thirsty,
the shadows are tired and the dogs
don't even want to bark
as you pass them. And the sun
is so blazing hot
that the palm trees are waiting
to fall over. It's so dry
the only thing the sun feeds is
the thought process.

The grass by the freeway
is dead brown and it smells
like piss. It's one of those

six in the afternoon summer days
that have you running into
the 8th grade You after passing a freeway over pass.
You see yourself, laughing there
but still nervous around girls.
You smile at him but
he doesn't see. He is too busy with...
nothing really.

You keep peddling
hoping to see more younger You's. Maybe
you’ll run into the
fresh out of high school, know-it-all,
knucklehead You so you can tell him
something about dating women
from work.

At your driveway
you look for the You
who really thinks he can fly,
to get lost for another moment.
That 7yr old happy, even in this heat You. The one with
no worries about
paying for college or insurance or buying
new clothes or missing out
on love. But
when you get home
he's not there.
It's just you. You peddle up the driveway,
put the bike back
and wonder
if the ride
was a good idea
after all.


I love women who
know how to lie but they say
that they love me too.

You Call Me Michael

like it's a new day that you are
willing to spend a chance on.
And it makes me think

of all the disappointing days I've had,
post-it noted over my mind's bulletin board, categorized by
women I've dated, loved and lost or left behind. I
flip through pages of notes about
anniversaries in San Diego where luggage
flew across hotel rooms
too far away from home to walk from,
birthday parties,
for little brothers that weren't mine gone bad
because of the wrong balloon bought and
six hour break-ups that included
pizza and an attempt to jump out of a moving car.

You call me
like I don't have to apologize
for being myself anymore,
for the way I stood up dates and laughed, for the way I
treated people because of the way they treated me.

You call me Michael
like I'm a gentleman and

you mean it.

You say it
with such conviction
that, for you,

I believe it.

Augie: Michael Torres thank you for being my guest today and sharing some of your work. Great fortunes and many more poems to share.

Michael T can be seen at the DBA Wine-bar located at 256 S. Main Street, Pomona, Calif. from 9pm-12am, Saturday March 24th

Thank you for stopping by...

1 comment:

marta chausée said...

Loved the in-depth interview and the take on lower case "i" versus upper case "l". I'm not sure I agree-- I tend to use all lower case for design reasons, but Sunny told me to stop, as it is annoying to readers and seems like I need attention.

Also, I am lazy and on a keyboard it is so easy to use all lower case. :-0

I loved the inclusion of three poems. Great idea!

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