Marty Smith is a poet-artist who has studied at Ohio University under Walter Tevis, Daniel Keyes and Ãthelred Eldridge. He believes “the artist vocation to be an expression of experience.” He has traveled extensively, taken a variety of jobs and studied major religions from around the world, all to gain the experiences and knowledge he believes essential in assembling a “vision of life from numerous perspectives” so crucial to his poetic-artistic expression.
Today’s post includes a brief interview with Marty and a sampling of his art and poetry.
1. Where did your interest in writing originate? When did you know you had a passion for writing?
My interest in writing began in the 7th grade when I first got attention from my English teacher for some poems I wrote. I worked hard in university to write fiction, and continued to write poems for personal purpose and romance. During my final year at university I began to draw and paint and became serious about poetry. Though I lost all interest in fiction writing, I have become more passionate about the process of creating the past 3 years.
2. Do you read as much as you write? What book are you reading now?
I do not read books. I read newspapers and poetry blogs online.
3. What is your writing process?
I write often just for practice. When I am prompted by experience, I am pleased. More often my mind stews on complex questions for some time until I paint my dissertation. The poetry I refine from the entire process.
4. What do you consider the best thing about writing? How about the worst?
The best thing is personal communication with my own nature. The worst thing is my fear over the disappearance of language as we know it.
5. What’s some writing advice you’ve received, that works for you?
I get mentoring from other poets on-line. This keeps me growing in the forms of poetic expression that interest me.
6. What inspires you to write?
Everything…. Even boredom.
7. Out of all of our human senses what do you consider the most important one? How is that reflected in your writing?
I am mostly visually stimulated; it is even a distraction almost to obsession. I don’t consider any one most important. Everyone is different and experience is always completely unique. I read on occasion there may be more dimensions, and by inference I believe more senses as well. In that case the most important sense may be the ones we aren’t using. In my writing I focus on a time and place, to convey the sensory import, and the reader’s sense may be decidedly different.
8. After looking at your Facebook page, onecloud, it is clear that haiku and art are both important to you. Why haiku? How do your art and your writing interact?
poetry is my life work
the voice I hear
speaks to me in lyric prose
I could choose a psalmist verse form
experience and vision
is transposed into Haiku
to present a context for the work
on occasion I compose
a Haiku of a single purpose
as the form best lends itself
to perfectly tell a moment
the witness of a truth
the natural creation is the language
for the conversion of holy experience
I will even imagine a waterfall
and elephants under it
some of my experiments
employ the supra-natural creation
spiritually it is a good choice of form for me
so in search of the dawning of peace
I will imagine my heaven
9. What quote would you share that is a driving force for you, either personally or professionally?
I am not driven by any conventional measure, the focus of my work may be “AWAKE.” It is just one word, but it is from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.
10. Who or what has been the greatest influence in your writing? Any favorite works?
I can’t say I have a favorite. I like a lot of poetry forms and painting. I think the greatest influence has been TV, movies, and newspapers.
11. Do you think writing poetry helps you to understand more about yourself and the world, or is advancing as a poet more about learning how to communicate the things you already know?
Both a bit. But mostly I hope I am writing and painting my message to the future. It is very difficult to write to your contemporaries I think.
12. It is National Poetry Writing Month. What does that mean to you?
It means you interview me. Well I am excited about it. I have never been interviewed for my poetry before.
Marty, thank you for this opportunity and for sharing your passion. To end, here are two of my favorites by Marty:
spring wind sends my hat
more blocks than i can run
rolling on its rim
faded photograph, dad in his boat at full sail, always smiling