Writer Daniel Damiano’s poem “Two Muggings Revisited” was featured in Issue #4 of Newtown Literary. We interviewed him about his writing, and his answers are below. You can learn more about Daniel at his website, and check out his theatre company, fandango 4 Art House, here.
What is your relationship to Queens?
I’ve lived in Queens for over 25 years.
How would you describe the writing you do?
As a playwright, I love writing character-based pieces which blend both comedy and drama, though some have more of the one than the other. They vary in tone, region, and type from play-to-play, but are ultimately always focused on depth of character. My poems range from the personal to the observational, and often focus on past memories and life in New York, a place that I continue to find rich with symbolism, poignancy, and humor.
How did you come to writing?
At a very young age, I gravitated towards writing around the time that I also started acting. I was basically a bad playwright and poet at the onset and learned that the best way to develop skill as a writer was to gain life experience and having something more substantial to draw from, which is what makes playwriting and poetry extremely cathartic for me, and the most timeless profession — because it is ageless. It is truly the ultimate high for me to create something out of words and to make an assemblage of words into a play or poem that can get to someone in some way. That’s always extremely satisfying when you feel you’re able to pull that off.
What inspires you?
Great art in just about any form, be it theatre, poetry, painting, et al. There are many artists in various mediums, most of whom have unfortunately passed on, whom I look to and continue to draw inspiration from with the depth and body of their work. New York City is also very inspiring because it is always in motion, always very active in some way, even in its silence.
What does it mean to be a writer in Queens?
I think it means the same as it does anywhere in that it’s simply a wonderful and honorable thing to be a writer because we are creating reasons for readers and audiences to be engaged, even stimulated, and to ponder things in various ways. However, I will say that it’s great to feel a part of a more public movement in Queens in the last few years, which the Newtown Literary Journal has really helped to forge, with regards to poetry and short stories, and allowing public forums for writers to read their work and support each other’s work. It’s a lovely thing, indeed.
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
My play The Dishonorable Discharge of Private Pitts will be receiving its World Premier this fall at IATI Theatre on East 4th Street in NYC, produced by my wife’s and my theatre company, fandango 4 Art House. I will also have my one-act CUT revived as part of the Neil Labute New Play Festival at 59E59 Theatre in January 2016, produced by St. Louis Actors’ Studio. I’m currently nearing a completed draft of a new full length play called HARMONY PARK which, ironically, is my first full-length play set in NYC (Queens, to be precise), and focuses on a landscaping crew working on park in a fictional part of Queens and the tensions that arise as a result of one crew member’s past.
And, finally, my favorite question: What should I be asking you that I didn’t?
To pull a reverse James Lipton – “If Hell exists, what would you like the Devil to say to you?”
Answer? – “Danny, you’re on the wrong floor!”
Readers, mark your calendars:
- Come help us celebrate the books published by Queens LGBT authors in 2015! Support five local writers at LGBT Queens Book Night 2015, a reading, discussion, reception, and book signing on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m. at Queens Pride House,
- Want to give your writing a kick in the pants? Heightening Stories presents the Jumpstart Your Writing online workshop starting September 20.
- Tickets are limited for the September 26 Poetry and Apple Picking excursion sponsored by Poetry and Coffee. Sign up now for some great Autumn inspiration!
- The Queens Young Authors and Poets Contest needs your support! QYAP is the biggest writing contest in the borough, inviting kids in grades 3 through 12 to submit poetry or prose. The winners get published in Newtown Literary. Between now and September 30, you can support the contest at our IndieGoGo page, where you can learn more about the contest and the great perks we have for donors!
- Will you be at the 2015 Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference on October 3 at The New School? If you are, be sure to look for our own founder, Tim Fredrick, as he leads a panel on getting published in mainstream literary journals.
- On October 4 at 5:00 p.m., come to the Astoria Bookshop for Poetry and Coffee’s discussion of Memorial: A Version of Homer’s Iliad by Alice Oswald. Tickets are free but required.
- Boundless Tales is accepting submissions for its current reading series! Submissions are considered on a rolling basis; the next reading will be October 8.
- Delve deep into your personal writing as Heightening Stories presents the Creative Nonfiction/Autobiographical Fiction workshop. Enrollment is open until November 4.