Daniel Ares López Interview
Poet Daniel Ares López is interviewed by Soren Rivero about the poem "Musca domestica," published in The Bayou Review's current Fall 2022 Edition.
We would love to hear what your personal connection is between “Musca domestica” and our theme Blooming, Blossoming, Branching Out.
Well, I think there is a good connection between my poem’s dear flies and Bayou Review’s theme for this issue. Blossoming and branching out are marvelous metaphors taken from biology and plant life, right? I love those metaphors (and I believe most people do) because they point to life’s capacity to grow, reproduce, and regenerate, even under harsh circumstances. My poem is a celebration of animal life. Yet, differently from other poems that celebrate animals, my poem somehow celebrates the most humble, ordinary, and universally hated and despised animal creature in the whole planet: the common house fly that most (if not all) people hate, especially when they buzzzzzz around at home or land to feast in our favorite dessert… They are considered worthless, ugly, filthy insects but, as living earthly animal creatures, they are cosmic miracles too (as we humans and every living species on Earth are) who blossom and branch out in their own ways: flourishing in our cities, finding ways to survive and flourish as a biological community, working hard to branch out into new generations of baby flies… I know they can be pests to kill many at my place in San Diego when they bother me),but they are also amazing creatures with amazingly athletic flying abilities that can make humans mad, ha ha ha… We just need to observe them without prejudice, with intellectual and spiritual curiosity... But… yes, I know, they are filthy pestering pests too! ha ha ha. That irony is in the poem too. There is also a connection in the poem between flies and childhood memories in Spain.
Can you walk us through your typical process of writing a poem?
I think I write different poems in different ways. Sometimes I start writing with simply an image or a vague idea and without knowing what will unfold from that. Other times I start with something a bit more elaborated. In any case, once I have the first version usually there is an intense (and sometimes long) work with the sound and rhythm which is something important for me. Sometimes revisions make the poem branch out in other directions too, but the first instincts and emotional impulses are the most precious raw materials for me and, in my personal experience, is a bad idea to strand from them when I work and rework in the poem.
What kind of obstacles do you face in your writing? How do you overcome them?
This year I can´t find enough time to write poetry because I need to finish some research projects first. So, that is the main obstacle I find, and it makes me sad because writing poetry for me is a fun and enjoyable activity. Even when I write about terrible things, I found it somehow fun and liberatory. When I write something and I´m not liking how it looks or sounds I just re-read poets I love and who are somehow connected to the kind of poetry I´d like to write at that moment. I often found inspiration and creative solutions that way.
What advice do you have for poets (and other writers) who wish to 'bloom?'
Reading with lots of care and attention and finding good and diverse models for the type of poetry you want to write is always a very good idea if you want to write good poems. With “diverse” I mean that your models/readings should be different among themselves (culturally, stylistically, etc.) so you can take different things from each and you are exposed to what literature in my view is: a rainforest with a huge biodiversity and cross-fertilization. If you want to find your own way to blossom as a writer, your vibe, you need to be exposed to many different seeds, pollen or spores and you will find out that some of those will germinate making your blossoming possible. That applies to other kind of writing, too (fiction, essay, etc.), and I´d say to creative activities of any kind, from cooking to podcasting. Poetry might be about individual or personal self-expression but it’s also an exciting collective dialogue with living and dead people, whose voices are alive.
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