Issue 20 Interviews
From its inspiration to its final arrival in the hands of the reader, writing undergoes a lengthy and complex process, and one that is too often overlooked. Each issue, Front Porch sits down with people who are engaged daily with the processes and industries of writing, be it by running community workshops, buying books at a used bookstore, organizing translations, and much more. These interviews seek to examine the many forces that shape literature, and to highlight the perceptive and passionate people to whom we owe the books on our shelves.
Front Porch: Why is poetry important?
Nick Courtright: Oh my. I’d say poetry is important— and this is a long, circuitous answer—but a lot of recent neurological studies are arguing that there’s something to be said for intuition and that rationality isn’t the only thing out there. So I think that poetry is an avenue for considering our experience in certainly a more ‘gut’ fashion than straight prose does, where everything is spelled out for you.
Front Porch: You’ve written over one hundred books.
Toyin Falola: One hundred nineteen.
FP: What’s your secret? Do you follow a strict schedule, or have you figured out how to go for long periods without sleep?
TF: First, it’s an issue of passion. It’s the only thing that makes me happy. People don’t see the tradeoff, which is that I’ve not been on vacation in thirty years. I don’t accept dinner invitations and things like that. Second, it’s an issue of work ethic. We’re talking about eighteen hours a day of work since 1977. And third, it’s an issue of definition. I think for most people, the challenge is that they cannot define an idea; and, because they cannot define an, idea it is difficult to project. But for me, as I’m closing one book, the next idea is accosting me. And many of these ideas are related to events, conversations, and episodes that are of interest to me. I don’t see it as a burden, as a chore. Many people seek pain in what they do, and they complain. Once you begin to complain when you wake up, you are not energized.