Interview # 11: Adam Levon Brown
Sincerely Art: Interview Series
Sy Albright interviews Adam Levon Brown -- poet/author/editor
SA: You are the first writer in this interview who is openly gay. From an academic standpoint I don’t believe there is a difference between gay writing and straight writing. But I am curious if as a gay writer do you face pressures different from non gay writers in the publishing sense?
ALB: First of all, I want to thank you for interviewing me, Sy. It’s an honor to be interviewed. As far as gay writing goes, the majority of my poems focus on mental illness, but I have two yet to be published chapbooks on my sexuality. Writing about my sexuality can be painful at times, but it’s well worth the effort, as I think that more LGBTQIA+ voices should be heard. There isn’t so much a problem in getting published as a queer writer, it’s the amount of avenues available that are specifically aimed at LGBTQIA+ persons. Sure, you have Crab Fat and Damaged Goods Press (Love them), and a few others; but there really aren’t many outlets for that type of work right now. I plan on starting a magazine aimed specifically for gender and sexuality in the future to help further this agenda. Grassroots organization is where I got my start.
SA: Flesh becomes bone
Bone becomes ash
Ash becomes carbon
These lines from the poem “To Dread Or Not To Dread” published by Ariel Chart in June 2018. Please provide us a deeper perspective to such haunting lines.
ALB: Thank you for asking, Sy. While these lines may seem haunting at first, they bring me a sense of ease and comfort. To be honest, these lines tie into my belief system, which is a whole cabbage patch of philosophies and belief. For these lines in particular, I had one image in mind; and that was the Buddhist idea of death. I was imagining three Buddhists crouched at a pile of burning bodies (Actually saw it in a documentary long ago) and I wanted to recreate that into poetic form. Just for some off the wall information, death is looked at a lot differently in Eastern Cultures. For example; If you saw a human skull sitting on the road in India, people would just keep walking by, as oppose to Western Culture, where there would be forensics, police, perhaps SWAT teams investigating it. This poem was an acceptance of not only death, but what I like to call an, “Eyeway” (Play on words for highway and looking at something closer) into Eastern philosophy and belief.
SA: I read a number of your works and you wax philosophic like some people breathe the air. Is this gift employed as a poetic style or do you enjoy exploring metaphysical planes as a recurring theme?
ALB: Metaphysical planes, to me, are the boundless energies this world has to offer. All poetics aside, I am philosophy nut. I love learning new perspectives and ways of seeing (Or not seeing) the world through the eyes of philosophers. Critical thinking is something I personally think is lacking in Global society today. All I see online (Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places) are ideologies stuck into the veins of most people I know. While I earnestly try to push for human rights with my publishing press (Madness Muse Press) I honestly think that ideology is the death of critical thinking. The cosmos doesn’t operate in black and white, and is indeed multifaceted; whereas ideology, most( but not all ) times, focuses on a division between 2 or 3 sides. This scope of thinking hounded me through secondary education, as I was a rabid protestor. I have found a home in philosophy which ideology never gave me. My rationale is: Why explore two sides, when you can see through 60 eyes? 60 eyes is a reference to my personal belief system, but I won’t get into that.
SA: Interviews are a lot like Hollywood film making in that most of what’s shot is lying on the floor never to be used. Depression is present in artistic personalities in a far greater degree than even combat veterans. Do you or anyone creative you know struggle with depression and how do you use writing as a form of therapy?
ALB: I know several poets whom I admire who also struggle with depression. Off the top of my head, I can think of David Trent Sabol and Robert Wilson. Sorry if I’m forgetting anyone. I probably notice you too.
SA: Interested in process. Is it a plan to write a poem on a delicate topic or do you follow a certain muse that guides you?
ALB: I always follow my muse, which dives into the oceans, all the way into the stars. I usually keep my muse locked up until I’m ready to write, but sometimes it will come out randomly. For instance, before a mental health appointment the other day, I had to write an appointment down on a list. I wrote it and then realized that the words were all jumbled, because I’m used to writing to avoid clichés, just the way my muse works.
SA: Technology has changed the world. Tell us for the good and bad how it changed writing.
ALB: Technology has managed to connect writers from all around the world in multiple ways. Facebook allows networking, Skype allows face to face meet ups, and podcasts are now used to promote and talk about books. I’m also an aspiring social media manager, so I don’t have much bad to say about technology. But, I will say that, since the inception of the internet, physical copy books are read much less, and I’m still a fan of buying a paperback book to read in a nook.
SA: Poetry is more popular in other parts of the world than in the United States. Some blame Hollywood. Some blame the internet. Some blame literacy. Do you have a theory of why this is happening?
ALB: I actually don’t have a theory on why this is happening. But, I will say that Slam venues such as button poetry have a much wider reach than just standard page poets. If I were to guess, I wouldn’t blame, but commend the internet for providing a landscape for new voices to be heard in new ways.
SA: Please list your past and present influences.
Edgar Allan Poe
Scott Thomas Outlar
The band: The Cure
These are my top influences as far as human beings go, but mostly I improvise based on my own emotions as a catharsis to write.