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: finishinglinepress.com. 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?