Name: Ray Mathieu
Major(s): Writing & Rhetoric
Year of Graduation: 2010
Position: Featured writer (Fall 2009)
This is your second time being published in The Independent Scribe. Which of your poems are you most excited to see in print? Why?
So They Say" would have to be the poem I am most proud of seeing in print. The restricted form in which it is written creates a unique visual design that adds an extra level of intrigue to the piece. Of the many attempts I have made at creating such a piece, this one was by far my most successful.
Your poem "The Steps to Stumblin'" reads like a personal account. Is this the case? What's the story there?
"The Steps to Stumblin'" is in fact a personal account, though some holes are punched out of the story as to allow me to blur sequences together a bit for rhythm's sake. What really happened was I drank White Russians all afternoon with my roommate, a Russian, one day. Later that evening, a bunch of us decided to go bowling, so we had a few beers and headed to the bowling alley. After a few games we grew bored of bowling so we walked across the street to the bar where we ordered up several Tidal Waves, a guaranteed ticket to Blackoutville, U.S.A. After a couple of drinks I decided to hit the bathroom, but through a misunderstanding of the bartender's directions, I ended up in the kitchen, where I eventually stumbled into the walk-in refrigerator stocked with beer. I was only in there a couple of minutes before they found me, surprisingly NOT drinking any of the beer. Needless to say, I was thrown out of the bar, and I woke up half naked on a couch the next morning. Blackouts happen, I guess. Like poetry.
Its is rumored you and The Independent Scribe's editor in chief Kate Stone are dating. Any truth to that rumor?
Absolutely no truth to the rumors. Kate and I are simply Non-Sexual Lifemates.
We know you write poetry, but what other genres do you dabble in? Are you working on any other projects currently?
If it's in the creative genre, I'm all over it. Currently I've been working on putting together some song lyrics which really puts a whole new set of tests of my poetic ability. I am also currently assembling my Electronic Portfolio as a graduating senior. So far, making my non-creative works appear as appealing as my creative has been the biggest struggle in that process.
Your poems published in the upcoming edition are very different from the other texts featured, both aesthetically and structurally. What poets sparked your interest in form? Why do you prefer to write in form rather than free verse? With the popularity of free verse embodied by our Fall 2009 edition, what defense would you like to make in favor of more formulaic verse?
"So They Say" is written in a form that I first discovered used by Edwin Morgan in his poem "Message Clear." Morgan achieve an extremely level of success in not only writing a poem start to finish within the restrictive guidelines of the form, but also by keeping the content closely relevant to the subject of the founding line of the poem. I have always been a fan of formulaic verse because of the challenge presented in the actual composing process. Finishing a formulaic verse such as a pontoum or paradelle feels like you have completed a puzzle of sorts and it's in that personal success that I get the most joy out of poetry.
Everyone has their own unique writing process. For poetry, what is your like?
When I'm writing poetry I'm usually also doing one of 2 things: either I'm sitting somewhere where I have to wait for something i.e. the doctor's office, or I'm reading poetry and I see a form that I feel the need to tackle. One of my favorite things to do is ride the bus from U.R.I. to Providence (about a 50 minute ride) and try to write a paradelle before reaching my destination.
While we know you're writing poetry here at URI, what do you plan to do after graduation? Do you believe your poetic skills will come in handy?
My plan after U.R.I. is to go to law school. If life has taught me one thing, it's to never rely on plans. I don't "plan" on having to rely on my poetic skills after college, but we won't know what the future holds until we get there.
Some writers feel a good deal of anxiety when it comes to submitting to publication. Is this the case for you now or was it ever? What advice would you give anxious submitters?
Submitting for publication has never made me nervous because, well, I always keep my expectations low; makes those moments of success that much more exciting. My advice to those of you who are reluctant to submit is: Expect the worst and hope for the best. That way you'll never be disappointed.