by Manuela Timofte
I recognize the divine nature of emptiness the most intimate essence of the tree. Marcello Comitini
Masticadores.- Why do you write?
In the large garden of the house, my father read the classical poets aloud and I, unwittingly, listened to him while he recited the deeds sung by Ariosto and Tasso, the patriotism of Carducci, the loves of Petrarch and Dante, the melancholies of Gozzano, the suffering of Leopardi – which came to mind in those sad afternoons, when little boy huddled in a corner, I hugged my cat and confided to him my bewilderment and my sense of loneliness. I was moved by his patience that did not make him run away annoyed by my hugs.
Among these authors, like all children, I was looking for my hero to imitate (my father was not among the candidates due to his character and his advanced age). I chose Leopardi because he seemed to me the least «ancient» and closest to my sensitivity.
But when I began to yearn for love for my peers, then I mentally began to draw on Petrarca’s Canzoniere, attracted above all by that play on words that the Poet created with the name of his beloved Laura. I thought the pun could fascinate the little girl on duty.
The outcome of my loves was such that I crumpled up themand threw away everything I had written. I thought my failures were Petrarch’s fault. I began rummaging in my father’s library for a more cunning prompter and was drawn to the red and black stripes that characterized the 1946 edition of d’Annunzio’s Alcyone. His lexicon seemed fascinating to me but he had an emotional charge and a sense of the heroic very distant from my character. I fell back on Leopardi. And with his help I wrote down lines that I inexorably crumpled up.
At a young age I deeply loved to read the works of Charles Baudelaire in the original language, whose desecrating, yet loving, vision of life fascinated me.
I can therefore answer that I am writing for love, a love that over the years has extended to the whole world with his beauties (including the women) and his crimes of injustice, inequality, poverty and wars.
M.- Since when do you write? Was there a specific moment that prompted you to start writing?
This question is usually answered by saying since I was five. From what I have said above, I do not think it is possible to determine when to start writing. Maybe when feelings invade the soul?
Was that when I started writing? I do not know . If it is true that «scripta manent et verba volant»(the written words remain, the spoken words fly away) I know for sure that all the first writings ended up in waste paper.
Could this be why I have doubts about the start date of my writing?
M.- In your workday, how much time do you spend writing? Do you have a ritual before facing the blank page?
I write when thought, feeling and speech crowd my brain. Following the suggestion of the poet Philippe Soupault to keep a notebook on the bedside table, I always carry with me the moleskine that my friends give me every birthday. I write to calm the exuberance of that throng of feelings, knowing that very little of what I make a note will, without alterations, take on the internal and external features of poetry.
Those that pass the exam to which I submit them, I copy them on the computer in a single file f Word entitled «Untitled» and throw away the moleskine now full. Even those transcribed on the file never stop being drafts. As those collected in volume and published never cease to be.
should say that when I write I forget the world, that I am carried away by my inspiration, that I am invaded by love, that I am suffocated by the throng of feelings I mentioned earlier. Yet I can never forget the world I live in. It is part of my thinking, of my feelings and my words go out to world to those who live on the margins of him. How can I forget it?
So I write, delete, rewrite and feel unsatisfied with the result achieved. I also feel on the edge of the world.
Like a beggar sitting at the foot of a wall begging for alms, I dedicate all my time, all my days and all nights to writing, hoping that poetry will be charitable towards me.
M.- Are you a compass or a map writer?
A poet is rarely a map writer, except that he does not write a work entirely in verse (such as Nikos Kazantzakis, John Milton, Dante, or Virgilio, or Homero, just to name a few examples of known poets). My experience makes me define as a compass writer because I write what the different aspects of reality and my state of mind suggest to me.
I write using my cultural background but I cannot follow rationality. Reason and poetry (not epic) do not agree. Who would have been Picasso if he had followed the rules of the rational?
M.- What would you like to review about your literary work?
A poet looks at reality in all its facets, ranging from love to one’s own pain and of every living being, from charitable gestures to those inspired by hatred, from the joy of living to the sadness of death.
My motto that guides my thought is «the disenchantment before the illusion» which means that I see reality in its truest aspect, without sweetening or vain hopes. And this can summarize my poetics.
In everything a poet writes, there may be a prevalent but not exhaustive aspect of his thinking.
Each reader draws food for thought and focuses his attention on the topics that most penetrate his experience. Leave it to the reader to review my literary work. And I leave it to the critics to dig up and unearth the universal aspects of my poems.
M.- What do you think about new technologies as instruments for the writer. Do they help or hinder?
As I have already highlighted above, I write on sheets of paper and then copy over the Word file. But I also said that I write, rewrite and correct. And this second phase is facilitated by my working on the file that allows me to review and delete without difficulty. It is therefore evident that technology is of great help to me.
M.- Publishing in digital, does it change your methods of inspiration or work?
When the internet did not exist, the poet who wished to make himself known had to resort to specialized magazines and through knowledge, ask to be published. The refusal was almost certain. The literary currents were created to which the poet was almost forced to adhere. Today there is more freedom of thought and expression, thanks to digital.
This greater freedom is the cause of poor quality, because everyone is free to spread poems, even if they are worth nothing.
I feed two websites and I publish poems accompanied by images that are often invented by me, to create an atmosphere that helps the reader to get in tune with my poems. All this would not be possible if digital did not exist. I therefore believe that digital is of great help in effectively spreading one’s thoughts.
M.- Do you think that accessing the reader who reads on a tablet, computer or mobile phone, in different spaces, for example, train, bus, metro, can help you be more read?
It is good for the reader to be able to carry the e-book of the author he is reading with him, but it is also good to be able to have access to all the books that make up his library at any time. The ebook allows you to read the book whose content best meets the needs of the moment. Having the books in hisr library in e-book format also allows you to easily compare the various authors who deal with the same or similar topics. I believe that these advantages offered by the opportunity to read on electronic media increases the time available for reading and therefore facilitates the increase in the number of readers.
This also applies to poetry e-books, but only in the case of readers who are used to reading poetry. It is indeed necessary to be familiar with this kind of literature, that is, to be a lover of poetic works. For occasional readers who usually read in order to find a correspondence with their emotions in the author, the places (mentioned in the question) are not suitable for encouraging concentration, will not benefit the reading of poems, and therefore will not benefit an increase. significant of readers.
M.- Do you think that, during The Pandemic, loneliness and isolation influenced your network of contacts? Did the number of your readers increase?
It is certainly a reality that the pandemic influenced our way of life in those days, consequently expanding the time available to devote to reading, and at the same time the need to exchange opinions, impressions and ideas through the only available means of contact with the others (i.e. internet). Personally, I noticed this, in the increased number of comments on each poem I published on the blog. I cannot say if there has also been an increase in readers. I don’t usually pay attention to the statistics, that is to the number, but to the quality of the readers, to their ability to interact, through comments obviously, with the vision of life that I express in my poems. So if we talk about quality, then my answer is positive: yes, I found more comments along with their more quality.
M.- Self-publishing or editorial? Do you think there are still misgivings in contemplating desktop publishing to publish a work?
When publishers knew how to do their job, readers trusted the choices made by publishers and bought their books. The author therefore had the opportunity to be known and disseminated simply by being published by a publisher.
For a few decades, publishers have lost sight of their mission, turning into entrepreneurs looking for customers. The customers, however, are not the readers but the authors, to whom the publishers ask for a contribution (as they call it) for the publication.
Now the author has the possibility of being able to compose on his own, with full control of the publication and with reduced costs. This has made desktop publishing the essential tool for any kind of publishing.
This means that the author has freed himself from the publisher’s slavery but it also means greater commitment and greater difficulty for the author to make himself known and therefore to spread his work.
M.- Do you think Masticadores’s bet in the search for that digital reader is correct? What’s your opinion about it?
I believe that the digital player is not an isolated case. It now represents the great part of the readers. The multilingual choice of Masticadores offers the reader the opportunity to meet authors who would otherwise remain closed in their circle of friends, who, however numerous they may be, will never be as numerous as the readers that Masticadores reaches. In fact, Masticadores publishes authors in various languages and then presents them to readers in whatever language they belong to.
M.-Participation as a writer in Masticadores, is it being positive? What has it given you?
Before answering this question, I feel compelled to thank Manuela Timofte and Juan Re Crivello for their exquisite kindness, as they offered me the opportunity to publish on this prestigious blog.
Now to answer the question, I affirm that the poems I publish on my blog are read and commented on by readers I notice active on Masticadores. Their comments have the qualities that I really like: participation and sharing of my content.
M.- What would you say is your hallmark as a writer?
Answering this question generates a lot of embarrassment in me, because I am forced to squeeze a very dense juice from my poetry or to close behind the bars of conciseness a plurality that is difficult to homogenize.
I will simply say that at the root of my poetry there is my need to dismantle the univocal interpretation of reality, whose generalized vision is characterized by a strong push towards optimism not justified by the facts.
Arousing in the reader the need to look at the world as it is, means offering him in every circumstance a point of observation from which to understand the actuality of our time, its contradictions, injustices, inequalities, the massacres that afflict ours. history, and to draw signals for the future by including in the gaze love stripped of all those illusory hopes that do not allow to enjoy with authentic intoxication, the precariousness of its balance.
Not a pessimistic and black vision of life, but an invitation to live it with greater awareness of its exact value.
M.-Tell us about your latest project. Are you working on a new one now?
Since I write poetry I cannot have plans, only desires. My desire, therefore, is to publish a collection of poems in English to be disseminated in the cultural world of Great Britain and the United States.