Monday, October 27, 2014

Steampunk Granny Interviews Poet Alex F. Sullivan


Alex F. Sullivan is a young man who is going places. I've had the pleasure of reading Alex's book of poems, "A Printing Madman" and I loved every single poem in the book. I got to know Alex more when he agreed to be part of my fall event, "Steampunk Granny's Bohemian Bazaar" that featured several writers and vendors selling crafts and jewelry.

I had so much fun with Alex during the bazaar that I decided to introduce him to my followers.

Marie Gilbert: Hi Alex. I'm so happy to have you as a guest. So let's start with the first question. Tell us a little bit about yourself—when did you realize that you wanted to write poetry---what was your inspiration for writing?


Alex F. Sullivan: I'm 23 years old, I live in West Deptford N.J.  

I started seriously writing poetry near the end of my high school career (W.D.H.S.).  Up until then I had focused on short stories and song writing for numerous musical projects that never went anywhere (yet!).  The freaks I surrounded myself with in high school were also very supportive and helpful in helping me hone my craft. 

My inspiration for writing comes mainly from my life. I like to laugh and  I find black humor and irony all around me and that finds its way into my poetry.  I like to tell stories through my poetry and a lot of people in my life will wind up branded with a pseudonym and find themselves (or a version anyway) in my poetry. Whether it be a break up, women, school, work, family, my car, a dog, a bum on the street, etc. if something inspires me, I'll do my best to get some words out of it and hopefully it'll be a great piece.  The 9-5 Working-Joe story is much more exciting then people paint it to be and I like to get that across to people through the pieces I write.  I like honesty and that was something I enjoyed when writing "A Printing Madman", it was my life experiences (some good, some bad)  through my eyes and I figured as long as I was honest then I couldn't lose.


Writing is a case of  trial and error as well.  I find that as you grow as a writer you know what works and what doesn't work.  Of the thousands of poems I wrote between 2008-2013 (which would become "A Printing Madman") I only chose the best 100 for the book.  Its hard to critique yourself but its necessary in order to best serve the piece you are writing. You have to be HONEST with yourself and it is not easy to do that all the time.

 I'm a big fan of the beatnik poetry on the 40's and 50's (specifically Kerouac and Burroughs) and reading those cats helped me see that poetry does not always have to rhyme.  Charles Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Shakespeare (tragedies) and James Ellroy have all in one way or another influenced my writing style, but I feel that there is only so much you can learn from other writers.  I feel that at the end of the day when you're writing, YOU should be the biggest influence, critic and book snob you can be in order to attain the best from yourself.  

Music is also a gigantic influence as well, especially jazz, blues and punk music.  John Coltrane, Howlin' Wolf and Social Distortion speak the same language to me and the notes they put down help me ease up and get the mind working correctly to get the best out of a piece.

Marie Gilbert: You took up Journalism in school and I’m interested in what type of news you would like to cover?

Alex F. Sullivan: I took up Journalism at Rowan University with my eye on being a feature writer for Rolling Stone magazine.  I figured if I couldn't be a rock star I could hang out with them and write about them at least. If I was going to be a news reporter I would want to be a foreign correspondent, if only to see far and away places outside of New Jersey.  Sadly, the whole "go-to-college-get-a-job-right-out-of-the-gate" dream crumbled and I'm still looking for that writing job.  But i'll never say I wasted my time at college.  I had a lot of fun and the experiences I had there, being a beat reporter, serving an internship at the South Jersey Times and being in on the grind were all very helpful in getting me where I am today.

Marie Gilbert: Where do most of the inspirations for your poems come  from? Are the poems in “A Printing Madman” from your own personal experiences?


Alex F. Sullivan: "A Printing Madman" started off as a joke actually.  My friends knew I wrote poetry and one night (after many a spirit had been imbibed) they said I should "do the writer thing and publish already". So I made a list of some of the poems I had written and that became the initial beginnings of the collection.  After that I collected all the notebooks, napkins and store receipts I had written on over the years and sorted them into groups of what I wanted to keep and what I could live without.  Then the actual process of writing them on a laptop and editing them took about 2 years.  When I felt it was finished and polished to the point where I could do no more that is when I looked around online for publishers and found through and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Marie Gilbert: What are you working on now?

Alex F. Sullivan: Currently I'm working on a companion piece to "Madman" called "Stark Raving Beautiful" another collection featuring poetry, prose and ramblings from yours truly.  While I identify as a poet I'm dipping into writing novels as well, I'm working on one now but it is in the very beginning stages and has been a consistently changing animal since its original conception.  I like words and  the beauty of what you can do and say with those words so pending a zombie apocalypse expect to hear from me in the very near future.  Life is weird but I have faith in myself.

Marie Gilbert: Thank you, Alex and for all my followers, you can fine The Printing Madman on Amazon and Alex on Facebook


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