Candidate #7: John Burgess, 49, corporate communications manager at PEMCO Insurance. Nominated by from the ground up, organizers of Cheap Wine & Poetry and publishers>"/>
Candidate #7: John Burgess, 49, corporate communications manager at PEMCO Insurance. Nominated by from the ground up, organizers of Cheap Wine & Poetry and publishers of lit mag "when it rains from the ground up."
What movie character do you most identify with?
Otto in Repo Man.
Who is your favorite poet?
Jack Kerouac. He's better known for his novels, but his poetry is incredible. Spontaneous, direct, real. I read "Mexico City Blues" at least once a year. His estate finally has been releasing his poetry the last few years.
What’s your favorite poem right now?
Been covering Allen Ginsberg's "Hum Bom!" at readings lately. It's fun to read aloud. Written in 1971, unfortunately it's still relevant today. "Whom bomb? We bomb them!"
What would your campaign slogan be for running for Seattle Poet Populist? Your campaign’s theme song?
Slogan: Hey ho! Let's go! Theme song: anything by the Ramones.
Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Patti Smith, the punk rock goddess.
Can you share an anecdote about poetry touching your life?
Poetry works a couple different ways for me. It can be when it's quiet, late at night, and I'm reading a book of poems, and I connect with the writer. Or it can be at a reading, listening to a poet read his or her work aloud, and I connect with the writer. I've had moments in both cases where poetry seems very relevant to my life, our community, our time here.
What is your biggest notable oddball talent?
I've reached the rank of shihan (instruction) in shodo, Japanese calligraphy, with the Ehime Prefecture Calligraphy Society. I haven't missed a month mailing my practice to Japan since September 1990.
If you couldn’t write any more, how would you spend that excess time?
Reading Japanese haiku.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing poetry since I was a teenager, 13 or 14. I began reading it aloud in 1997.
What poem has made you feel most uncomfortable? Has made you cry?
I'm not afraid of ideas. I read a lot of different poetry by a lot of local and nationally known writers. Bring it on.
Have you ever used poetry to win someone over or get them in the sack?
No. That's not why I write.
What's the most irritating aspect of the poetry scene?
Too many great choices! There are nights there are two or three readings I want to be at.
What was the last good book you read and fell in love with?
A History of the Imagination by Norman Lock. Don't wait another day. Read it now.
What are a few lines from a poem you’ve written that you’d consider one of your best? (And the title of the poem.)
“Not as Though I Already Attained”
Lifting our voices up in song
unionizers organizers revelators
stanzas of ordinary folk
ordering ordinary lives.
Why should you win?
Win or lose, I'll continue to do the same things I do now to support the local poetry scene -- help put on poetry events like Burning Word, support small presses and independent bookstores like Open Books, going to readings and buying books, and sending checks to lit orgs.
If elected Poet Populist, what would be your first order of business?
Write a poem about the Aurora Bridge.