Monday, May 17, 2010

Daisy Chain Poetry Gang --> Focus on Michael Solender

Michael Solender -- writer, essayist, journalist, and poet extraordinaire. Also the third link in the daisy chain poetry gang. I've had the pleasure of flashing and poeming with Michael for over a year, and all I can say is -- wow. Michael is one of the most versatile writers I know, and one of the most talented. You can find his colloborative poem OUR DISTANT FRIENDS at The Not. I time traveled to Charlotte, where we kicked back on the front porch and threw back a couple of icy cold brews while talking all things writing.

Michael, which calls to you more, poetry or prose? Prose, I think, has a stronger pull for me. I have difficulty with structure in poetry but ironically can find the discipline liberating so I do try. I went through a Villanelle stage and Pantoums which are variations on that theme. Prose allows me to be more loose with conceptualization and flow that seem to better fit my mood.

How would you characterize your poetry voice? your prose voice? I really like to experiment. Trying second person, female characters in prose is challenging and fun for me. I think of it less as voice and more mood.

What inspired these first lines of your poem?

They reside on shores unseen
waiting, wanting,
wrestling with weighty wonderment
Do they feel what we feel?
Know what we know?
Care our cares?

I was actually thinking sci-fi for some strange reason and about parallel universe!

When you wrote the first line(s), did you have a preconceived idea of how your poem would shape and form? If yes, what was that vision? I really had no idea whatsoever... I was looking to be surprised and I was.

What surprised you about the final version? Just how tight and seamless it was, the flow and cadence were wonderful.

What are you working on now? I have a story (non-fiction) I'm pitching about two local documentary filmmakers who have produced a film celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Newport Folk festival and they have hundreds of hours of interviews and concert footage with major principals like Joan Baez, Odetta, Pete Seeger etc. The back story is incredible and I anm expanding my comfort zone and taking the story to some big name national publications..we'll see.

Bio: Michael J. Solender is editor of On The Wing. A recent corporate refugee, he foolishly turned to writing for salvation. His opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and contributes frequently to Charlotte ViewPoint and Like The Dew, Journal of Southern Culture & Politics. Solender’s micro-fiction and poetry has been featured online at Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, Right Hand Pointing, Shoots & Vines, The Legendary, Metazen, Writers’ Bloc and over one dozen other venues. His essay, Unaffiliated, will be featured in the upcoming print anthology TOPOGRAPH, New Writing From the Carolinas and the Landscape Beyond, published by Novello Festival Press in the fall of 2010. He blogs almost daily at Not From Here, Are You?

Peace, Linda


  1. I am blushing! You are most kind. I thank you for including me in such a fun project, it really has been amazing to see all the different styles and fabulous outcomes that have sprung forth. It's really been a lot of fun and isn't that what it is all about??

  2. Inside the thoughts of a serious writer. Great interview. It's interesting to read about all the players.

  3. Michael, I left a comment over on your blog about the poem.

    I am REALLY glad you had a sci-fi vibe in setting this up!

  4. I agree with Laurita and find it interesting to read about this fine gang.

  5. Nice interview. I think your approach to poetry sounds a lot like mine, Michael.

  6. A nice interview, Linda. Good luck on the documentary, Mr. Solender!

  7. Really enjoyed knowing more about you, Michael.

    The documentary story sounds like a good one. Yes, stepping outside one's comfort zone is hard, but ultimately rewarding. Good luck with it!

  8. I didn't pick up on the sci-fi vibe. To me it felt like a nod to the process itself - writers living far away from each other somehow participating in this poem-experiment. But the final thing turned out pretty good.

    Good luck on your pitch.

  9. Great interview to a heck of a guy ... and scribe at that

  10. Nice to get to know Michael a little better.