Newtown Literary Contributor: Gil Fagiani

Writer Gil Fagiani’s poem “Jazzing with Machito” was featured in Issue #7 of Newtown Literary. Here, he discusses poetry. You can learn more about Gil at Kites Without Strings or in this New York Times piece. 

What Is My Idea of Poetry

When I lived in East Harlem in the 1960s, I was struck by the creative and powerful way young people spoke in this poor quarter of upper Manhattan, a mixture of English and Spanish, slang and argot. While their material conditions were depressed, their speech was dynamic. Their voices heightened a lifelong interest I’ve had in expressive spoken language. Engaged for more than 40 years in social work, I now realize those voices I’d heard constitute the major influence on my aesthetic as a poet. I think in terms of “people to people”, what I observe, perceive, I seek to reshape, enhance, and redirect back to people—not just a literary audience. Poetry is concentrated, powerful verbal communication. For me, it represents the ability to transmit the complexity of experience more intensely than other forms of verbal expression. While I try to respect all poetic traditions, even the most avant-garde, I place a high premium on accessible communication. One of my greatest satisfactions is to be approached by someone who says, “I’m not into poetry, but your work really moves me.”


Thanks, Gil!

Readers, mark your calendars:

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  1. Pingback: Newtown Literary Contributor: Allison Escoto – Newtown Literary

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