BWW Interview: Poet Mike Wolf
I didn't know much about Mike Wolf before this interview other than he's a talented poet and a friendly guy.
Not a bad combination.
MCL: Do you write prose or just poetry?
MW:I write primarily poetry- maybe one day I'll expose the world to my prose works.
MCL: How did you get into poetry?
MW:A small, dedicated few organizers (namely Ricky and the crew at College St. Gallery) shoved me through performance anxiety into the world of performance poetry and eventually into hosting and running readings.
MCL: Some poetry influences?
MW:Historical: Gertrude Stein and everyone who followed her tradition and editing style.
Inspirational: Isaac Asimov- to create worlds as that man did is borderline insanity. I could not dream to do in poetry the perfect scientific interpretations of the human experience he struck in prose.
Locally: Ricky (Indio) of Sewing Souls, Richard Kerwin, Dominique Woods, Betty Red, Melanie Donofrio, and Josh Bedford along with a litany of local artists brought my later refinement, while a handful of brilliant writers at UB helped shape me before I ever felt courageous enough to read aloud.
MCL: Describe your poetry?
MW:Honest. Honesty is never valued today- job interviews, dating profiles, social media posts: the false-for-the-public generation. I only feel I express truth when I write poetry. The judgement comes afterwards, it's not a forethought. In a world where every keystroke may come back to bite you I want to remind my audience that the legitimate human experience lies a pen and notebook away.
MCL: What's the Buffalo, New York poetry scene like?
MW:Welcoming. Constructive. Open Mics in Buffalo are truly unique in that you can find one that expects gold and another that functions as a workshop and both will respect you equally.
I honestly believed poetry was a dead, college-textbook art until I found the scene here.
My only critique is the apparent void between academia and street poetry. A legacy that once hosted the likes of Ginsberg at UB often has difficulty seeing eye-to-eye and stanza-for-stanza with a train-hopping poet from Blackrock; many folks fail to see that the real value of our scene here in Buffalo is the ability to even sustain both traditions in one small city.
MCL: Any local poets who helped you grow?
MW:The list would fill a page:
First and foremost my hardest critic and best editor, the love of my life Dominique Woods.
My elders in the scene and gracious hosts Ricky (Indio), Richard Kerwin, Marek Parker and many others that gave me venues and advice.
Lastly, the innumerable poets and writers that I've worked with as readers and contributors over the years. You have shaped me more than I will ever understand.
MCL: Some of your favorite venues and why?
MW:I miss some dead venues; College St. Gallery will always be my home. Beyond that I've felt welcome everywhere from an Infringement Festival street corner to the Screening Room in Amherst. Support your neighborhood open mics!
MCL: Finally, promote yourself. What's going on in 2017 for you?
MW:I'll be co-hosting the Screening Room Open Mic sessions all year with Marek Parker and performing a few sets in this summers' Infringement Festival. I look forward to seeing you all there!
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