Writer Tony Gloeggler’s poem “Renal Sonogram” was featured in Issue #1 of Newtown Literary, and his poem “Quiet” is featured in Issue #3. You can check out more of his work at NYQ Poets. We interviewed him about his writing, and his answers are below.
What is your relationship to Queens?
I moved to Flushing with my family from Brooklyn as part of a “white flight” in 1962 and my parents wanted to own a home in a safer area. I now live in Richmond Hill/Kew Gardens.
How would you describe the writing you do?
I’m a narrative poet. I try to tell stories about everyday people using everyday language and give it a bit of music and rhythm to make it as readable as possible. I’d like readers to see familiar situations, maybe even themselves in a different way or force readers to see and feel, think about things they never bothered to examine.
How did you come to writing?
I think I came to writing because I didn’t talk much growing up, and the people around me didn’t talk much about what I was thinking and feeling, and it helped me try to figure myself out and where I fit in the world. At the same time, I was a big music fan, and lyricists like Dylan and Joni Mitchell were getting to me with their words, and I started to try and figure out how they did it. I also read a decent amount, and I was knocked out by Grapes Of Wrath. 1975 was a big year when Blood on the Tracks, Born To Run, and Late for the Sky came out, and I realized I wanted to write like some combination of Jackson, Springsteen, and Dylan. Later, I found a few poets who got to me: Anne Sexton, Richard Hugo, and Adrienne Rich’s Diving Into the Wreck.
What inspires you?
Inspiration is mostly just something that captures my thoughts and won’t go away until I write about it. It’s usually a situation I’m going through or I encounter. It’s the story or character that resonates. I don’t write every day just to write and say I’m a writer, and I don’t try to find things to write about through exercises–which is fine for others. I want it to have an urgency, an importance that compelled me to try to turn something into a poem. It’s not work or my occupation or some kind of calling or a gift from god so I can walk around thinking I’m a poet because it’s a cool thing to be, although my writing is very important to me and says a lot about who I am, and I do work hard to make it as good as I can.
What does it mean to be a writer in Queens?
I’m not sure it means anything to be a writer in Queens. I think I’d be the same if I lived in say Brooklyn or The Bronx, most any urban area. I’d still be a white middle-aged NYC kind of guy with a working class non-academic sensibility who runs group homes for developmentally disabled people and just wants to write good poems and have as many people as possible read them.
Mark your calendars, readers and writers! On May 22 at 7 PM, the Boundless Tales reading series will have a reading entitled “Things I Never Said” at the Astoria Bookshop; simultaneously, The Shops at Atlas Park will be kicking off a reading series of their own. Be sure to check out one of these great events!
Also, Issue #4 of Newtown Literary will be released, and available at the Astoria Bookshop, by the end of this month. Help us celebrate the launch by attending a reading at Odradeks Coffee House on June 5 at 7 PM, hosted by the REZ Reading Series.