Frank is a senior at St. Lawrence double majoring in Philosophy and English. He is a columnist for the Hill News, providing his philosophical insights on what it means to be a college student for the Hammertime column, as well as being a member of SLU’s Habitat for Humanity organization, and an avid member of the Frisbee team. Frank has attended and read at almost of the Poetry for Peace readings for the 2012-2013 season.
Q: What made you want to start writing? When did you begin?
I started writing in first grade and, once the alphabet was mastered, moved on to sentences. I started creative writing in 4th grade and I liked it because other kids laughed at my stories, which boosted my already ballooning ego. In 5th grade I started work on my first novel. In high school I published a funny story in the newspaper, and got a lot of props for that. In college I was going to do something else, but then I didn’t.
Q: How do you write? In a notebook? On a computer? In a special place?
I write in a notebook… and on a computer. I can write faster on the computer, which sometimes lets me tap into that stream of consciousness of which I otherwise only catch glimpses (because I write kind of slow and get preoccupied with my handwriting), but I do prefer the paper rendition: there’s more thought, more planning, like a house built with a blueprint instead of just thrown together (but I do love throwing together houses). I usually write at a desk.
Q: Who are the poets who most inspire you?
Elementary School: Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, that guy who wrote “Mean old Mean Hyena,” and Weird Al (Weird Al influenced me through my Middle School Days). High School: Rappers. I liked mostly indie white rappers because they didn’t bother with the sex and drugs, which were things that didn’t interest me – things I considered “low-brow.” Aesop Rock, Eyedea, Brother Ali, and Sage Francis, to name a few. These days I’m not totally sure who I like. I write more free verse business and I dig dipping into the Whitman-esque repetition, a fusion of which I specifically admire in Allen Ginsberg, but then I like a lot of other things too: I like Eliot’s bleak outlook, I like Ovid’s Gods and Homer’s heroes, I like Dylan Thomas’s reading voice – I don’t know. Ask me later.
Q: Do you have a favorite poem/s written by other poet? What is in that poem/s that you like the most?
Um, yeah, I’m sure I do, but I prefer hearing other people’s favorite poems. I once went to a show by two NPR djs and they traded favorite poems, then classical songs, then poems again, and that was an incredible experience. It’s great to see people inspired by what they read and sure of why they’re inspired by it. I’m not sure of why I’m inspired by things. Frequently I’ll read things and like them, then not like them, or I’ll read something and not like it, but then like it in retrospect. This puts me in a dangerous position to pick a favorite. But, why not? In light of the Occupy movement, and the whole anti-establishment jive that deserves more attention / action than it gets, I recommend Ginsberg’s “America” or, more subtle, d. a. levy’s “From Tombstone as a Lonely Charm.” These are fun, accessible, and didactic that, read in this (mostly) apathetic era, makes them all the more prevalent.
Q: Do you have a favorite poem written by you? What is in that poem/s that you like the most?
I wish I had a favorite poem! I don’t like any of my poetry. This is a good thing when receiving graded work back. I’m not writing what I want to write yet, nor am I attacking what I want to attack yet, but I am attacking, and I think that’s why I don’t like what I write and simultaneously why I can’t write anything else (what do you want me to do, surrender?). I guess, right now, my favorite poem is “True Love” – ironic title – because I think I’m getting at a rarely expressed, but pretty frequent, position: virility pushed onto a person from a young age by the suffocating praises of females he sees simultaneously injured in their adult relationships, making him both fearful of becoming – but wanting to become – the adult male they pretend to be / tell him he will be.