Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Drunk Dialing the Divine Tour

 


I have the immense pleasure in being part of the Drunk Dialing the Divine Tour this summer. I am pleased to present to you this wonderful artist and person named Amber Koneval!

Please join me in welcoming her and making her feel at home while I ask her a few questions in order to get to know her and her poetry better.

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Author Info




Amber Koneval is a twenty-year old Colorado native, graduating from Regis University in December of 2013. She has been published in over twenty journals with more than sixty poems. Drunk Dialing the Divine is her first collection. She loves snakes, line-dancing, and going to the theatre on Saturday nights. You can contact her at her main website or at her blog. She loves comments and e-mails! 

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Interview: Part 1


1. How long have you been writing poetry?

I've been writing poetry since I was first forced to in middle school, though I didn't particularly enjoy it until my freshman year of college. Until that point, it was kind of just something I did whenever I felt particularly angsty (if you read my high school poetry, you'll see that almost immediately). Now, poetry's more of something I MUST do.

2. What drives you to write poetry?

A lot of things, really. I'm not a one-topic, tunnel-visioned type of poet (although there are a TON of really good poets who are). I guess the one thing that ties them all together though is that I write poetry when I really want to work things out in my own head. I see something beautiful, or troubling, and I want to know why I feel that way or why things are that way and I start writing. I very seldom get any kind of answers from that, but it does help me order my own thinking- and by sharing the product of that process, I hope to give my readers a new way to think about a certain topic or issue as well.

3. What themes or topics do you touch on in your poetry?

The biggest topic that people will notice in my work would be God (My only current published collection is a Christian work titled 'Drunk Dialing the Divine' in which I poetically deal with my own anger towards God). Another more subtle theme is that of mental disability- I'm autistic, though through many coping mechanisms I can often pass for neurotypical in public. Many of the questions I have personally stem from the clash of how my brain works with how most of the rest of the world works. I very rarely blatantly state 'this is me being uncomfortable due to how people treat my autistic-ness' however. It tends to come out in the imagery, though, and the more people get to know me, the more they tend to go back and read a poem and go, "well, hell. I completely missed this bit here." Which is fine. Poetry is a co-operative process between the poet and the audience, so I'm happier when people get something out of a poem for themselves than if they get the 'right' interpretation.

Other than that, my themes and topics tend to change as I change. At the moment, I'm going through a horrible bout of baby fever, so every other poem is obsessing about a baby I've seen, or re-looking at things I once thought were mundane through the eyes of a newborn. In my religious poetry, this has come out in my more recent poems all centered on Christ as Infant and/or Child. Other times, I've been obsessed with people's teeth or over-sexualization or the idea of poverty, and so I'll write a lot about that. I'm kind of all over the place.

4. Is your poetry written for your personal experiences or from people\things you observe around you or both?

I would say that its about seventy percent personal experience, thirty percent observing people around me? And even when I'm observing people around me, the verses are wholly biased from my point of view. I think that's important in poetry, though. I'm not trying to say what everyone else has said, or lend my voice to big issues just to get my two-cents in there. I'm saying what I have to say, in a way that only I can say it, as a start-off to a discussion between the reader and me. I think it's a bit more intimate that way, and I avoid more of the risk of being redundant and irrelevant.

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Poetry Showcase

POET PROPHETS
Today you asked me
that if you closed your eyes
real tight
and faced the fluorescent light
so that lines of purple
and green streaked across the inside of
your eyelids
could you say you'd seen the
shape of God?

Like a bright darkness
whirring in your ears
gears of flesh grinding
beneath the weight of self-oppression
molding a deity out of
heaps of dead hearts
and the blood of martyrs
for glue
so sickening

And so you look to the poets
to sculpt the face of God
building the divine out of pen strokes
imprint of contemplation
half-drenched
half-baked words in a kiln of
theology
as poetry itself is a shadow
of the heart
trapped on paper
dead, assuredly
but observable nonetheless
a criminal sketch of Christ
on a diner napkin

Just to describe
the negative, the outline of the
light you're staring at
between sleeping and being fully,
totally awake
contemplating God
in the white light
of a cold, brick room

I'll never be good enough
of a prophet
to answer you


LIFE LINES
today the priest said
that what he loves most
about Mass
is looking at the people’s hands
as they reach out to him;
holding their palms up to God

the gnarled, wrinkled hands
toasted brown by sun and calloused
by shovel handles, wheelbarrows
and heavy loads
the small, freshly pink
hands of children, wearing white
to ones with nails manicured
so perfect and fragile
they reject anything on them
for fear they’ll break
the hands that are missing fingers
and thumbs
the ones scarred
or so loaded with rings you wonder
how they’re being held up
and the ones not strong enough
to be held out
and so you can only guess
at them, if you’ve got the
time

it makes me wonder what
my hands look like
as the body of Christ
descends into my possession
in ingestion

because I’m trying to look at them
on my own
but I come up blank

I guess I’m too close
to my own skin
to read
my own lifelines

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