Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Poet's Corner - Buddah Moskowitz



It was the middle of 2012 when I met Buddah Moskowitz. I had discovered dVerse Poets Pub through a FaceBook friend and Buddah was one of the poets who commented on my poems and I, in turn, would comment on his. The more I read his work, the more I felt like we were kindred spirits as he wrote the poems I wished I had and in a way that captured my attention from the beginning and left me sated at the end.

Although I am a fan of his work and we have commented on each others' work, I wanted to know more about Buddah and his work. This is why he was one of the first poets I approached to join me in The Poet's Corner.

So sit back, grab a cup of tea or coffee and get to know our fellow wordsmith, Buddah Leonard Moskowitz.



What is your name? 
Buddah Leonard Moskowitz.

Where are you from? 
I was born and raised in southern California, a few miles away Disneyland (where I’ve visited literally hundreds of times).  Now, I live about 50 miles east in a region known as the Inland Empire, but there’s nothing royal about it all.

When did you start writing poetry? 
I started sometime in 1978.  It was a love poem for a school friend named Laurie.  She had blonde hair, one green eye and one blue eye and a great sense of humor.  She only liked me as a friend. That’s ok, back then I’d settle for just having friends.

How did you get into writing poetry? 
I continued writing throughout the years, but it’s only been in the past 8 years that I really made a conscious effort to write and share it with the world.  I’ve had my ihatepoetry blogs at joeuser.com, livejournal.com and blogspot.com.  They’re all still out there if you’re curious – or suffering insomnia.

Do you write other things? Essays, short stories, fiction, non fiction etc? 
In college I wanted to be a playwright.  I thought I’d be the next Neil Simon.  I wrote five plays, each one only marginally better than the last.  I also wrote and recorded many of my own songs from 1983-2003 on my modest in-home studios.  I still like to play with music and sound, but I’m mostly I write “poems”.

What do you do for a living? 
Believe it or not, I’m a dean in higher education at a public institution.  My job is very analytical and requires a different creativity than poetry.

Do you have any hobbies? 
I like reading non-fiction, watching infomercials and making digital music.

What is a random fact about yourself? 
I have an almost embarrassing love for the “Planet of the Apes” film series from the 1960s – 70s, although I really loved the reboot from 2011 too.

At what point did you view yourself as a poet? 
I don’t wear the title “poet” very easily.  When I started sharing my poems on the internet, I remember the absolute thrill when I first realized that people other than my friends (who usually are polite) told me that they liked my poetry.  I am almost completely unschooled in classical poetry, and what I have studied I generally loathe as being stuffy, obtuse or so incredibly insular that only the poet knows what the poem’s about.  I don’t feel like I write poetry as much as I write about my life.  I value accessibility in any art.

Before you started your blog, where did you keep the poems your wrote? 
There are many sealed cardboard boxes of writings in my garage and assorted notebooks with my handwritten scribbles in them.  I secretly hope that after I die someone goes through them and sees what I was writing.  I just don’t want to look back at them yet – I’m still too young.


Do you have a favourite poet? If yes, who is it and why is he or she your favourite?

I like CharlesBukowski and Dorothy Parker because they have heart, they use mostly accessible language and have a soul of humor in their works.  Also, I like Johnny Masuda and David Lehman.

What is your preferred style of writing? Free verse, rhyming, sonnets, haiku, etc.
I guess it’s free verse.  Everything else is an exercise to me, and that’s not to demean the exercise, but I tend to want to document my consciousness more than contribute to the world’s collection of unread sonnets.  I dig haiku because it’s quick- I have my own modified form called Soupy Sales, after the TV host who would ask people to send in postcards explaining a particular topic in 25 words or less

How often do you write?
A few times a week.  When I try to take a break for more than that I find myself gradually gravitating back to it.  It helps me feel right in the world.  I’d write more, but I’ve been Family Man for the past ten years and that is a wonderful distraction.

When did you start your blog? and why?
In 2004, my pal from college days and poet himself Johnny Masuda, told me how he was getting great responses with his blog, and of course, I was competitive.   Also, I wanted to see if there was any interest in what I was writing.

How did you find out about the online community of poets?
I just started finding sites and started commenting on others’ work, and they mine, and the process just naturally unfolded.

What are the benefits of having your blog? and being a part of the online community?
The main benefit is having a somewhat permanent, predictable place where you can send poems out to the world and where the world can find you.  I just wish I had the domain ihatepoetry.com!  I know the fellow who has that domain and he’s a good poet too.

Has your work ever been published? (print or as an ebook)
A few poems have been featured in ezines (or reposted) and I sadly haven’t kept track of them.  Back in 1985, I saw that the literary journal from my university was soliciting submissions.  They used to write the ponderous “poetry” I hated even back then, so I sent in what I thought was an obvious parody of this fatuous style. They published it sans irony!  I’ve also self-published in print and presently have an ebook at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com title “I Hate Poetry 2.0: Formatted for Mobile Devices.”  It’s 100 poems for $9.99 – that’s less than a dime per poem!  My next project will be another ebook – a collection of my Christian-Universalist-Humanists poems, which I will give away free on the stipulation that if someone downloads it that they give some money to either a local charity or a homeless person in their neighborhood.  I believe in the goodness of people and the honor system.

Do you have a favourite poem that was written by you? What is it? Why is it a favourite?
They’re like my kids, so it’s hard to pick a favorite.  But here’s one that I rather like:

David [name withheld]

His hubris is such
that he often says
his six-word story is
“God created,
and so must I.”

In everything he does
he tries a creative approach.
While this is not
always successful
(as evidenced by his previous
failed love relationships),
he relies upon
the element of surprise
to compensate for
true talent and competence.

He is most proud
of his second marriage
and how seamlessly
he became a husband
and assumed the paternal role
to Anita’s pre-existing
family.

In his free time
he is a voracious reader
of nonfiction,
with his favorite genres being
show business biographies,
theological treatises
and reference books.

He loves all forms
of music,
and his favorite all-time band
is the New York Dolls.

He started writing
when he was 15,
and while there have been
long periods of inactivity
in the intervening 33 years,
writing is the single
most gratifying work
he’s ever done.

When he writes
he is no longer
overweight or
Mexican or
awkward or
unwanted or
lonesome.

True to his credo,
when he writes
he creates himself,

and it amuses him,
and thankfully,
he amuses easily.
  
What encourages you to keep writing?
I do have a strong work ethic and I think an artist can be measured partly in terms of creativity and prolificacy.   Also, my writing is my memoir.

Where does the inspiration for your poetry come from?
Usually I want to remember thoughts and feelings and writing is the quickest, most effective way for me to do that.  If I were a visual artist, I’d probably be eternally sketching.

Do you think it is easier to be a poet now than before? Why?
I think it is easier because poetry’s been taking out of the rarefied air of the academic journal, mostly due to the ubiquitous and democratic nature of the internet can make publishers of us all.  That’s also a downside too.

What do you think of the future of poetry?
I think just like any art form it’s always changing.  What I like is how so many people from all walks of life are seeing that they are poets, they’ve just never been encouraged before.  I really like the Story Corps, the Moth, and Snap Judgment projects in America.  They’re about documenting the stories of everyday people for posterity.  I’ve learned that beauty and wisdom and talent are everywhere and should be nurtured.

What advice would you give poets? (new and not so new)
Write to communicate to others but not necessarily for their approval.  Try to say something fresh.  Try to challenge yourself to write things that are painful, things that are secret – there are no secrets just universal truths that we stumble upon at different times.  And, above all, do it because you like doing it.  It isn’t always fruitful, but sometimes it’s about the process and not the product.

Where can we find you online?
What other information would you like people to know about yourself?
When you read my writings online I love when people leave comments. I don’t take a single comment for granted and I’m honored that people would even read me.  I try to leave comments on most things that touch my heart or soul or mind.

If you won the lotto, what would you do after you've traveled and did all the fun stuff you wanted to do, what would you do? What would you do if you had all the money you needed to live?
I’d volunteer in my community helping the poor, as I believe Jesus would want me to do.


Every time I go through this interview, it reminds me why I am doing the Poet's Corner. I am sure there are so many things that differs between Buddah and myself but it's our similarities that makes  makes life interesting. Similarities like the way we write or feel about wearing the label of poet. In this day we work so hard to be different, to be recognized as separate that we forget that it's through our similarities that we truly connect with others and recognize the humanity in others.

Once again, Buddah, thank you for being the first poet in the Poet's Corner. I welcome all poets into the Poet's Corner, you can visit the Poet's Corner Page in the side bar for more information. Have a great weekend.

6 comments:

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i love your heart...if you won the lotto...great answer...did not realize you were a dean, interesting....and i love the story corps as well...have two books that were put out by them a few years back capturing some of the stories....great to meet you all the more man...

Mary said...

Nice interview of a truly nice person and fine poet.... Enjoy learning more about you, Mosk. Hope that those who read this one here may also look back over to the one Sherry did at Poets United a while ago. Love the details!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Thanks again, and forgive my lack of modesty! I should have CENSORED my genitals. Either that or used Photoshop to make them larger.

Misky said...

So happy to read a few things that make Buddah tick. I've long been a fan of his poetry. Thank you for this lovely interview.

Zouxzoux said...

I really enjoyed learning more about Mosk and his writing philosophy and practice. Thanks for a wonderful insight. But then, I always knew he rocked.

Maxie Steer said...

Mosk,

What l like most about your poetry is its accessibility and how you dictate my thoughts so concretely. Your progression as an artist is similar to mine and I respect your approach to the art of poetry. I am also way too young to look back at some of the ponderous "poetry" I'm hoping people find as my legacy once I am gone. It's really great knowing you.

 
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