Monday, September 12, 2016

Interview with poet Peter Jacob Streitz

The man helping me kick off a new week is Peter Jacob Streitz. We’re talking about poetry today. Peter has two books of poems, Hellfires Shake the Blues, and No Words . . . Just News.

Peter Jacob Streitz was born an iconoclastic hick in upstate New York. Raised by a single mom after his dad flew the coop instead of flying The Hump, over the Burma Road in World War Two, where he won the Distinguish Flying Cross by losing both the Japs and his mind. His inevitable departure didn’t affect Peter—as he morphed into an All-American boy and athlete who was awarded a four year, full-boat scholarship to Alfred University (which he rejected) before counter-culturing his way towards the only degree ever given by Boston University in Alternative Education.

This, of course, primed him for his personal low as a Repo Man to his meteoric rise to corporate management in the now defunct computer giants of Compugrahic and Wang, plus the largest chemical company in the world, BASF. Soon after getting his dream job of a Multi-International Customer Service Manager (with worldwide influence and an actual business card) he, same as his father, lost his marbles and bailed from reality, before moving from Beantown to the Left Coast and set up shop as a househusband—sans any kids—for his corporate executive wife, and thereby, bravely embarked on the delusional life of being a novelist-slash-poet while incorporating the business plan of Divine Intervention to ensure his inevitable success.

Welcome, Peter. What do you enjoy most about writing poems?
Their appearance joyously announces the end of my writer’s block. All my poems begin as an anger, confusion, frustration, and\or my search for clear and concise answers to questions that either don’t exist or are just too simple to be true. That’s when the beavers go to work. All my thoughts begin to circulate in a boggy jumble and the beavers methodically, and forcefully, begin to build their dam against my poetic flow, either up or downstream, ruthlessly jamming me between the shores. This creates, if not a torment, then an adrenaline-junkie’s kind of excitement in my mind as the pressure continuously builds and the reservoir fills to bursting. Then all hell erupts as the logs give way and a solid stream of poetry begins to dictate itself—as I type as quickly as I can in the hopes of not being swept away or drowned in my own confluence of madness merging with the lifeline of verse.  

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your poems – perhaps a couple of your favorites?
My poems are spiritual news. Which has absolutely nothing to do with religion—quite the opposite. My poems are the “found pieces” that litter the mind. You know, the discarded bits and pieces that don’t fit the privatized propaganda that’s eventually verbalized as one’s personal truth, thought, or intended deception. Most of these remnants (these discards of immorality and\or sanctimony) are found in the usual places; meaning, the gutters, back alleys or the grand boudoirs of the brain. And as they’re merely leftover from a whole—and normally completely out of context—I make no moral judgement on their meaning or intent I simply give them air to breath and a platform from which to have their say. Favorites are WINGED RATS or A DYING MOTHER. 

What form are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
My form, and not content (as I’m so often reminded) seems to take the shape of wine being manically dispensed—by Charles Bukowski—into an hourglass decanter. Why? It palliates the Sisyphean hangover.

What type of project are you working on next?
I’d like to answer this, but as I have no say in the matter I can’t.

When did you first consider yourself a writer / poet?
In the sixth grade, when I snagged first prize in a writing contest. They took a bunch of us juvenile delinquents to this stink-hole of a fish hatchery for some learnin’ about how fish mate by squeezing a load of sperm and eggs into a big ol’ mixing vat . . .and I wrote of my experience from the fish’s point of view . . . winning a Martin fish reel, the Mohawk model.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for not-yet-published poets?
Research for my work is akin to a molting leper trying to shake hands at a Malibu beach party . . . there aren’t many takers . . . and judging by the sight and sound of my verse no one is nominating them for any category—much less an Oscar.  As for advice, never use the word soul.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Every day, before I write a word . . . I read as much celebrity-crap news as I can stand . . . deadening the outside world . . . and leaving me with only my own thoughts as entertainment.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A priest with a harem.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Writing truthfully from the heart is not only vital, but it’s also lifesaving for those living both within and without.

Thanks for being here today, Peter.

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