Kenneth P. Gurney. Tells us how you started in poetry? What age?
Matt Margo. I think that I was eight or nine years old when I started writing poetry. I remember playing an old desktop computer game that was similar to Arkanoid or Brick and deciding to write a poem based on the name of each level in the game. One level was named “Red Dog,” and I wrote a poem about a red-haired dog sleeping in the sun. The game had about 50 levels total, so I wrote about 50 poems, but “Red Dog” is the only one that I can recall now. I guess that I’ve always tried to make the experience of writing poetry feel like the experience of playing a computer game.
KPG. What is your favorite breakfast?
MM. I don’t know if I have a favorite breakfast, but I do have a favorite cereal, which is Reese’s Puffs.
KPG. Is there any endeavor that you are passionate about outside of poetry? How does it enrich you?
MM. In addition to writing poetry and eating cereal, I also enjoy producing experimental music. Most of it I self-release under the moniker Let’s Fight! I suppose that it enriches me in the same way that any form of creative expression enriches anyone. When I’m working on a poem or working on a piece of music, I tend to develop a singular focus and I can temporarily forget about the rest of my concerns. I’ve found that the process of working on music is usually more transcendental though. It is much easier for me to lose myself in sound than in literature.
KPG. Tell about one of your favorite poetry experiences.
MM. I once went to a poetry reading with a friend who hates poetry readings, and we both drank too much wine and beer and giggled our way through the reading, and afterwards several people approached us and said that we had been too loud and obnoxious, which prompted even more giggling from us.
KPG. If you could wave a magic wand and place a poetry book into every high school English classroom as required reading, which one would it be and why?
MM. I would probably choose The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven by Mairéad Byrne. When I was in high school, that book helped teach me that poetry could be better and more fun and more free and more beautiful than what I was required to read. Or maybe I would choose Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip [poetry foundation], so that high school students could learn a bit of real American history for once.
KPG. Where was your last selfie taken? With anyone?
MM. My last selfie was taken in the backseat of my friend’s car. No one else appeared with me. I took the selfie so that I could check whether or not my lipstick had smeared (it hadn’t).
KPG. Recommend a poetry (or literary) website that you frequent.
MM. My friend Penelope Jeanne Brannen writes surreal dream-poems in the form of Craigslist “missed connections” and then shares them on this blog. She also shares blackout erasures and other types of poems on the blog. All of the poems are good and worth reading, in my opinion.
KPG. What is your favorite National Park? Why?
MM. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only national park I have ever visited.
KPG. Please tell about a dream that you work toward achieving at this time.
MM. I would like to work toward achieving my dream of visiting more national parks.
KPG. If there is a little known poet you think everyone should read, who is that poet and suggest one book of theirs we should purchase?
MM. I think that everyone should purchase and read There Should Be Flowers by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, EARLY POMES by billy bob beamer, and List of Consonants by manuel arturo abreu. Everyone should also purchase and read every book published by Gold Wake Press.
KPG. What reoccurring themes or personal experience have you noticed in your poetry over the years?
MM. As my personal experiences with depression, gender dysphoria, and mental illness have unfolded over the years, those things have definitely become reoccurring themes in my more straightforward poems, I’d say. It can be very therapeutic to write about what plagues you in life; you end up being more likely to improve and persevere.
KPG. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or some other sweet?
MM. I prefer milk chocolate more than the other two, but on most days, I’d take a bag of gummy worms over any chocolate bar.