"Please tell us a little bit about your most recent work.
By most recent work, do you mean poem or book? I write irregularly, but average better than a poem a day, usually putting out a book or two a year. For instance, I wrote the 49 poems contained in “The Goldenheart Cycles” in less than two days. My most recent book, “Bragi” is about the identities of those who inspire me and my own complex identity and mythology, largely built around mythological archetypes. In terms of poems…I just did a triptych of poems concerning the sensuality of self-immolating in the passion of a lover’s eyes, arms, and bed, entitled “Triptych for Agnia”.
What was your motivation for writing it?
The book (Bragi)? It was about time I brought that element forward, showcasing it and underlining just how pervasive it is in my works, and an award winning nude that Mariya Andriichuk did a few years ago reminded me of Bragi’s wife, Idun, who dispensed the apples that granted the Norse gods immortality. The triptych (Agnia) was to express my passion for a lover. I don’t write consciously, but reflexively. I write like a woman gives birth, for the most part it is a tough, painful process, but it is natural to me like breathing and walking. When I feel the need to write, usually triggered by emotional sublimation bubbling up through the preconscious, I write. A startlingly large volume of what is produced never makes it to paper, some only in fragments. Then I review what I have captured and throw most of it away, perhaps ruminating on a phrase or an image that will return later. But some emerge perfect and complete.
Are you currently working on any side projects?
A new CD, tentatively entitled “TBD too" as a follow up to my last CD, “TBD”, plus I am going to be touring a lot this year, mostly in association with the National Beat Poetry Foundation, coast to coast in the US and a few overseas dates, all being worked out as we speak. I am also helping my creative and constant collaborator, Mariya Andriichuk, with some book and video projects as needs be. I just contributed to three charity fund-raising anthologies that should be out this Autumn.
What motivated you to become a writer?
Two things, I guess. Firstly, this is what I am. I don’t write poetry, I live it. The revelation of my own thoughts, emotions, and personal mythology found in my works reveals me to the universe and the universe to me. I think of poetry as my religion, the means by which I connect with God, as I perceive Them. Secondly, poetry is my guitar. You ever go to a party and there’s this one guy in the corner with a guitar and half the girls are sitting near him to hear him play? Poetry was and is a way for me to overcome what is actually a very shy nature. Put crudely, it has gotten me laid.
Do you have any unique writing rituals?
Hmmm….for the longest time I preferred to write out my poems in longhand on legal pads with a razor-point Flair pen. I have mountains of original manuscript, some of which I haven’t revisited in decades. Nowadays I am more likely to write raw into a window on my computer, on a site like deviantart.com (I have over 1,000 poems there).
I don’t really rewrite. I might edit for a typo or what have you, but I think poetry in its purest form is sacrosanct, and like a photograph, should not be retouched or it loses its authenticity.
One poet more people should know: Who is it?
Wow, I know so many. I’d have to say….hmmmm. Several, many of whom are associated with me with the National Beat Poetry Festival. Dan McTaggart, who I have worked with and who was just named the West Virginia Beat Poet Laureate, and Larry Jaffe, my brother from another mother, who is slated to be the Florida Beat Poet Laureate. The late, great Ruth Solomon, whose death probably means she’ll never get to wow the world with her potential. That’s more than one, but there’s so many.
Do you find it difficult to maintain a career as a writer?
When you view being a poet like a religion, you can always find time for it. I don’t get rich off of it, but you never know what’s around the next turn. I’ve put out so many CDs and collaborated with recording artists including Dutch industrial hardcore artist Ophidian such that Google lists me as an “American Musical Artist”. Makes me think I need to get a guitar. But in the end, I am just a poet. Which is sort of like saying I am just the Pope. Or a superhero. Or a wanted terrorist.
Tell us about your day jobs.
I consult in writing assignments for various consulting firms in the DC area at this time. The brevity and punchiness of writing that comes from writing poetry for more than half a century serves me well. The money is good, but it can be bruising and challenging.
When it comes to poetry, where do you find your inspiration?
Passions. Usually for women. I find myself inexplicably ending up in death spiral relationships with beautiful but damaged women. My son Elric jokes that Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter from “Fight Club”) is my dream girl. Unfortunately, he’s not far off. Religion, politics, injustice, the smell of a farmer’s market. The sound of a woman’s voice. Strawberries. Peaches. Jasmine Tea (yes, that story is true). Going back and re-reading old poetry of mine. I have the capacity to pick a point in the past, an event, and relocate my emotional state to then. Makes for some good fire for the new poetry. Life, death, eschatology, mdmess.
What would you like to tell your readers?
Relax. Enjoy life. Find your passions. Find your talents. If you want to write, learn your craft, find your voice and get ready to let it overwhelm you.
William F. DeVault is the US National Beat Poet and has been known for more than two decades as the “Romantic Poet of the Internet” a sobriquet given him by Yahoo. He is the author of more than twenty books, has read and toured from coast to coast in the United States in support of poetry and free expression, and is preparing to take his first worldwide tour in 2018. His collaborations with various musical artists has resulted in Google identifying him as an “American musical artist”. He currently resides mostly in cyberspace where he writes, edits, collaborates, and publishes his poetry/photography fusion magazine “Amomancies”. His current catalog of works is estimated at over 25,000 poems.
http://www.cityoflegends.com His website
His podcast reading of Ginsberg’s “Howl” (approved by Ginsberg’s estate)
http://www.amomancies.com Amomancies magazine