Which writers inspire you? My literary influences are a crazy broth of very disparate authors. The poets I most admire are Albert Goldbarth, Angela Ball, Roger Weingarten, John Lane Michael Chitwood, Susn Ludvigson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Beckian Fritz Golberg, and Charles Harper Webb. I guess the poet whose work I go back to most that most affects and inform my own writing is Charles Simic. I love the primal dreamlike quality of his imagery and his blusy embracing of life amidst atrocity.
I have also been inspired by the nature writing of Loren Eiseley. I am continually amazed by the high-powered intensity scope and nuance of his perception and his ability to layer inages without muddying meaning or losing the rhythmic beauty of his language. Millan Kundera, Italo Calivino and Robert Pirsig are also important to me in showing what is possible in artfully and even playfully dealing with big ideas.
What have you written?
I have published three chapbooks and one full length collection of poetry
Many years ago I was part of a group called The Writers’ Common. The group was comprised of a medical doctor, a layer, an engineer, a social psychologist, a professional journalist and several educators. We took turns publishing opinion column in The LaGrange Daily News. We also met and discussed social issues and topics for future columns.
I also write reviews of plays, art shows, and poetry for publications like The Bluffton Sun, The Island Packet, and CH2.
I occasionally write Academic Papers on poetry and popular culture.
Where can we buy or see them?
My latest book, Hatchery of Tongues is available at Amazon and directly from Negative Capability Press.
What are you working on at the minute?
A chapbook of poems and essays titled “SURREALITY TV.”– The books deals with my personal and sociological observations about television and the television-based mythology that informed s much of my growing up.
Why do you write?
I write to clarify my own thinking and feelings. I write to surprise and delight myself and audiences. When I write reviews, I am trying to share both insights and enthusiasm about poetry, painting or the theater. Most of my poetry comes from playing archeologist of my past, excavating my various childhoods. Albert Goldbarth has a lovely line that says, “Our childhoods never disappear completely, and their whinings, fears and wonders only hibernate, a bonsai of us, in us, the way the first ring of the redwood is still at its center, inside the enormity.”
Michael Bassett is a pot, philosopher, booklover, visual artist, and educator. He holds an MFA from Vermont College and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi. He went to high school on the Island where he has returned to teach. He is the author of for poetry collections: Karma Puppets (2003), Waiting for Love to Make My Phone Explode (2007), A Train Dreams of When t Was a Killer Whale (2009), and Hatchery of Tongues (2014). His poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and dozens of anthologies. He is the winner of the 2005 Fugue poetry contest judged by Tony Hoagland and of the Joan Johnson award.