[Picking The Brain] Ale Gasso
Who is Ale Gasso?
I like to say that I was born in New York during the blackout of ’77, just because it sounds interesting. But I mostly grew up in Miami. When I’m not writing poetry or working my day job, I’m usually at a bar. Live music kind of rules my life.
Some poets say their work is a release or an escape from reality. What does poetry DO for YOU?
Writing has always been my “back-up plan.” If I lose my job and wind up drunk and friendless in the gutter, at least I can say I did it on purpose.
Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry or was it an experience?
I had actually been trying to write down a lot of my experiences for a while before realizing they came out best in poetry. Short stories never worked because there were always huge chunks missing. I remember my nights in pieces. I call them snapshots. They eventually become my poems.
Who are your influences?
I’m a big Kerouac fan. When he reads his stuff, there’s just so much rhythm there. So much of it is missed when it’s just on the page. And Bob Dylan.
It seems as though society has a perception about poets and their work, that most of it is over the top political or extremely “artsy” what do you think?
I write the way I write because I’m trying to get away from that whole “artsy” thing. I can write about bars and it can still be pretty. Everybody can relate. People don’t really care about the dew drop you spotted on your rose bush this morning. They don’t want to read poems about it. I know I don’t
Are there truths in the sound of poetry that are lost when poetry is read silently? Are there poems that are meant to be read in silence, perhaps a silent meditation on meaning, that
don’t need to be read out loud? What kind of poems do you write? Which ones do you prefer?
You definitely lose something when a poem is meant to be read out loud, like Kerouac’s stuff, and you only get to read it in a book. But some poems are written that way. Mine aren’t written that way. They’re written to be enjoyed alone at the bar. There’s no song in there.
Recently more so over the last 15-20 years (and especially since the movie Love Jones) there has been a shift in that poets read their pieces and have now become “Spoken Word Poets”. How do you feel about this way of reading poetry and spoken word in general?
I like the kind of poems you have to toss around in your head for a while. If you can add rhythm to that, that’s awesome, but it’s not my thing. With my poems, I’m just telling you stories. Like friends the day after a night out.
With the recent mainstream success of poets like J.Ivy and Beau Sia and the popularity of “Def Poetry Jam” why isn’t writing poetry more popular?
If you could make money writing poetry more people would do it. Only a crazy person lacking good sense would sit around writing poems.
The title of the book is “Poems to Drink to” what would you recommend we drink while reading it?
A sipping-whiskey. Take your time.
What can we expect from “Poems to Drink to”
Snapshots from the bar: fights, parties, hugs, hi-fives, live music, vomit, broken glass, and a little blood. Just lots of fun.
Do you plan on writing another book?
I’ve already started it.
What goal do you seek through your poetry, to discover, to influence, to re-vision history?
I’m just filling a void. This stuff needed to be written.
What advice do you have for other up and coming poets/writers?
If it seems impossible, that’s because it is.