Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Today's guest blog comes to us from J Michael Wahlgren. His first full length collection of poetry, Silent Actor, comes out June 12th, 2008 from Bewrite Books. Order the book and read the reviews here.
*A Little Background Music
You're probably wondering what inspired me to write Silent Actor & from where the title came. Well, to keep a long story short, I was cleaning out my grandmother's house as she has been admitted to a nursing home & needed some release from general things such as this going on in my life. So I created, an interlocking group (of poems) which would release not only me but strive to cheer people up. A break away from structured meter, these poems reference the fact that I was unemployed (which I am no longer) as well as a carotid clog which is when my grandmother had a stoke. My grandfather came to the United States to become a movie actor & began working at Keystone building cameras. He never became an actor & there really isn't an "actor" per se in Silent Actor, but it really references the relationship a reader has with a text: the interaction & conversation (as one of my professors referenced) that a reader has. So we are dealing with a free form in the book. There are many sexual references. There is a girl character who now I know as McKenna (in some of my newer poems) but the protagonist is male & the second protagonist (how I like to think of it) is female. You could say they meet numerous times within the book, once at an airport, once in a hallway, etc. But Silent Actor begins focused upon the male character & ends with both of the characters by bedside, one wishing he was more like someone else: one characteristic of method acting & roleplay.
*What do I want to tell the readers of Scattered Light?
If you read the book, I hope at most it is entertaining. If I can entertain, then I am a success in this endeavor. The book consists of many different forms, solid stanzas, two line stanzas, & new forms such as in New Waltz. There is an oscillating relationship between a female & male protagonist.
*Do I reveal anything in Silent Actor?
These are some of my most revealing poems. X & O is about cleaning out my grandmother's house. There is life involved in the book & thanks to my publisher the poems were placed in an order that flows & makes sense. It is very similar to a novel in the sense that it is telling a story & has a rising action (I would say at the poem Move On) where metaphor is thoroughly analyzed as in what a metaphor really is.
*The significance of the title
Silent Actor came to me when I was thinking of website names & it stuck. I didn't think about the history of my grandfather much but thought it was a reference to what a poet really is. As the write-up of the book explains, there is "an ongoing process of both discovery and reflection for the poet." Yes, poet in this case can refer to me but as the title is very broad as in anyone who gains attention (mimes included) are silent actors. So it could be referencing to any poet really.
I hope you enjoy the ride & read & it brings you closer to the understanding of the relationship between poet & reader, writer & actor.