What's the deal with the Seattle Poet Populist contest ? It's where you, the viewer/listener/reader, get to choose who you want to represent Seattle in>"/>
What's the deal with the Seattle Poet Populist contest? It's where you, the viewer/listener/reader, get to choose who you want to represent Seattle in the world of verse for the year to come. For those who can't make the readings but want to vote in a learned, discerning manner, our primer—in which each candidate is asked the same grueling set of questions—continues.
Candidate #2: Richard Gold, 59, founded the Pongo Teen Writing Project twelve years ago.
Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
That waterskiing squirrel
(full interview after the jump)
Name, age, affiliation?
Richard Gold, 59. Founded the Pongo Teen Writing Project twelve years ago. I’ve developed techniques for working with kids who have trouble expressing themselves.
Who is your favorite poet?
I usually don’t think in terms of poets, I read anthologies... But there are a couple that come to mind by a man by Michael Blumenthal, The Man Who Needed No One…. He needed all along.
The hearts of our city.
Your campaign’s theme song?
Something by Philip Glass.
Can you share an anecdote about poetry touching you or someone else?
When you deal with the kids who are in real emotional pain, their question is, why does life have pain in it? What is the meaning of life? To me, that shows that there is something very profound to be learned from these suffering and isolating individuals. What I feel like I’ve learned is that our society doesn’t make enough opportunity for people to process feelings? These kids are only indicative of a general problem that most of us have that we struggle to understand and integrate how we really feel, and the losses that we really experience. And without that, all kind of bad things happen… self-destructive behaviors. That kind of difficulty leads us to have trouble in our relationships, or to be workaholics. It’s a problem.
What movie character do you most identify with?
The entire cast of "The Big Lebowski"
A notable oddball talent?
My hobby is taking pictures of sunsets and taking them to emails to my friends.
If you couldn’t write anymore, how would you spend that time?
I’d have to learn how to draw or sculpt, or dream.
How long have you been writing?
Seriously, since college--so for about 40 years.
What poem has made you feel most uncomfortable? Has made you cry?
None of them. All of them.
Have you ever used poetry to win someone over or get them in the sack?
No, but I baited a mousetrap with my poetry once.
What's the most irritating aspect of the poetry scene?
The communal living.
What was the last good book you read?
Men of Our Time, by Fred Moramarco and Al Zolynas.
Can you share a few lines from a poem you’ve written that you’d consider one of your best?
From a poem called, ‘You Are”:
Then someone touches you lightly
with the message that the pain
you feel is not your fault.
Who are you now?
Why do you think you should win?
I want to represent the teams that I work with. Pongo Publishing is a spokesperson for democracy as well as art. These kids have written some poignant, relevant poetry. I’d love to use this as a form to share the kids’ poetry, share the important themes in their lives. There’s a theme of very tortured childhoods, and another of the healing power of poetry. They’re not only writing about this pain, they’re thrilled to be expressing themselves. What I’d like to share is, this is what the kids say to all of us.
If elected Poet Populist, what would be your first order of business?
To call a girl who rejected me in high school.