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!

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

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