Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daisy Chain Poetry Gang --> Focus on Tony Noland

Tony has a rep as being a bad boy on the block, churning noirish words of horror and intrigue. But he's got a soft spot, too, as evidenced in his poem EARLY SPRING. Prolific, quirky, his stories always amaze. And so does his poetry. We caught up over steak and cheese subs, a messy delight, washed down with cold Yinglings.

You write poetry and prose - which calls to you more, and why? I'd have to say that prose is what brings out the best in me. For me, poetry is like a swimming pool - a place to play around and stretch out some unaccustomed muscles. I can swim the basic strokes well enough, and I enjoy the time I spend in the pool, but I know my own proclivities well enough to stay out the way of the real swimmers who are working over in the lap lanes. No "best times" and "target heart rates" for me when I'm in the pool... I'm the guy in the shallow end, pina colada in one hand, cigar in the other.

How would you characterize your poetry voice? your prose voice? It's easier to characterize my poetry voice: humorous light verse. Oh, an occasional deep insight or blue note might creep in, but it'll be wrapped in funny.

My prose voice is harder to characterize. I write in several different genres, and the conventions of them call for different styles. I'm not afraid to be surprise readers by being unconventional, but some things work better than others. I've gotten a lot of positive response to a hard-edged, noir-thriller style of writing that I'm doing for my ongoing serial, "Just Enough Power". However, I've also had readers say that no matter what the plot or situation, they would recognize "a Tony Noland story." Maybe it's because I tend to use obscure vocabulary?

What inspired the first lines of this poem? My poem is titled "Early Spring". The first line reads: "Cooking hot dogs when I wanted ribs"

It was an early spring day, unexpectedly hot. I was running behind that day, considering what to do for dinner in late afternoon. It occurred to me that it was warm enough to fire up the grill for the first barbecue of the season. However, I'd thought of it too late in the day to do anything fancy - no briskets, no ribs, no marinaded chicken. I had none of that sort of thing on hand and I didn't feel
like running over to the store. What I did have was a few packages of hot dogs in the freezer. My kids would have loved the dogs, but we had no buns. Serve hot dogs on sliced bread? Or run over to the store after all, for their sake if not for my own?

The situation led me to thoughts of compromise, of sacrifice, of finding as much joy as possible in a less than ideal situation.

Did you have a preconceived idea of how your poem would shape and form? Sometimes parents don't get much credit for all the little sacrifices they make - I was setting up a scene for some of that to happen.

What surprised you about the final version? That it took a turn toward the morose and joyless. The dad in the final version didn't get much credit even for trying.

What are you working on now? I'm mapping out my serial in such a way that I can turn it into a properly structured novel, and I'm trying to get a little further ahead on my #FridayFlash stories. Also, l'll be publishing in an
anthology of my flash fiction, some of #FridayFlash pieces, some never seen before. My plan is for that to be done before the end of July.

BIO: Originally from the Midwest, Tony Noland is a writer and blogger (and poet!)living in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. He writes literary fiction, science fiction, horror and fantasy. In 2010, my stories have appeared in the "12 Days" and "Unluck of the Irish" anthologies. Later this year, my work will be in the "Chinese Whisperings - Yang" and "Best of #FridayFlash - 2009" anthologies. I'm also one of the team of associate editors for the latter. My most successful poem to date is "Ode to the Semicolon". I'm active on Twitter as @TonyNoland and my
writer's blog is LANDLESS


  1. great analogy to a swimming pool, I have seen Tony's writing really mature over the past year and his blog and writes are not-so-quietly becoming one of the "must" stops on the flash blog-o-sphere

  2. Linda, thanks so much for organizing this and including me in it. I had a terrific time, and probably learned more about poetry composition than I have in years.

    Michael, you are very kind! All I can say is that I will keep working to improve and keep doing what seems right.

  3. When checking out #fridayflash Tony Noland is almost always one of the very first I look up, and I check out his links whenever he tweets them.

    I loved reading the background of the poem too. What led to writing ideas always intrigues me.

  4. I also enjoyed the swimming pool analogy. Tony's writing is always fun, whether it's a comic write or made of darker stuff.

  5. Tony always has good stuff. Nice interview.

  6. Can I join you for a cigar? My wife won't let them anywhere near the house.

  7. Thanks for the support, everyone! FridayFlash is always fun for me, no matter how light or heavy my stories come out.

    Mark, I'm in the same boat. My occasional cigar is usually smoked during a walk at lunchtime. It's the perfect mix of a healthy activity combined with a desperately unhealthy one.

  8. great interview, too bad about the poetic dad getting the coal instead of a hug

    happy poeming