All of the interviews on Paul’s blog – The Wombwell Rainbow – are interesting and worth your time. Paul’s doing a fabulous job. I have selected Bozhidar Pangelov’s interview to feature today because it includes a tidbit of a reference about what it is like to be a writer and lover of literature in times and places of repression. Though those of us who came of age during the Cold War are conscious of this, I often wonder about younger people. Perhaps I’m just out of touch. Bozhidar also shares some thoughts on authenticity that I appreciate as well as his practical perspective on the poet as professional.
At any rate, many of you are familiar with Bozhidar’s work since he is a frequent contributor to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt (as is Paul) and he has also been featured on this site before.
My thanks to both Paul and Bozhidar for permission to share this interview with you here today. And thanks to Paul for doing this series. I think it’s a real contribution. / J.D.
PAUL BROOKES (The Wombwell Rainbow): “I am honoured and privileged that . . . poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
“The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too…”
BOZHIDAR PANGELOV (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия блог за авторска поезия ) was born in the soft month of October in the city of the chestnut trees, Sofia, Bulgaria, where he lives and works. He likes joking that the only authorship which he acknowledges are his three children and the job-hobby in the sphere of the business services. His first book Four Cycles was written entirely with an unknown author but in a complete synchronicity on motifs of the Hellenic legends and mythos. The coauthor (Vanja Konstantinova) is the editor of his next book Delta. She is the woman to whom The Girl Who… is dedicated. Bozhidar’s last (so far) book is The Man Who. A bilingual poetry book A Feather of Fujiama is being published on Amazon as a Kindle edition.
Some of Bozhidar’s poems are translated in Italian, German, Polish, Russian,Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, Romanian, Portuguese and English languages and are published on poetry sites as well as in anthologies and some periodicals all over the world. Bozhidar Pangelov is on of the German project Europe .. takes Europa ein Gedicht. Castrop Rauxel ein Gedicht RUHR 2010 and the project SPRING POETRY RAIN 2012, Cyprus.
Bozhidar’s pen name “bogpan” means “god Pan” – in Greek religion and mythology.
- What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
I have the feeling that I have always written poetry. At home we used to have quite rich book library. Throughout my awkward past the (the political system), reading was a way of having a life in another worlds. Can you imagine that there used to be long queues for each translated book from a foreign author! Well, eventually the cause of writing my first poem was quite funny. Me and a friend of mine used to be in love with the same girl. The conflict about who is going to meet her was resolved after each of us wrote a poem. Romantics of the youth.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
To answer this question I would like to make some clarifications concerning the educational system in my country. In that system literature is considered as a compulsory subject and leads to serious exams that allow you to apply for a higher educational degree. In the study books are included national as well as international authors. In that aspect, if you like literature you just start writing.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
During the time when I was young, the government used to dictate names of poets, but I have always been a rebel and that’s why I never accepted any names. Later on, when the political system changed what remained was my love and amusement by the great worldwide poets.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I am not a professional poet and I don’t need to write every day to earn my living. Certainly I don’t trust poems written by professional poets because in most of the cases these poems have unclear aesthetic values and are there to satisfy the popular reader’s taste.
5. What motivates you to write?
The emotions. Despite the fact that everybody feels the defined emotions as love,pain and etc., each person senses them in their own unique way. The thought that inevitably exists in a poem rests between the conscious and unconscious. I think that a poem written only by the conscious effort of one’s mind is rather a short essay or a short novel. Still there should be a cross point between poetry and prose and for me that’s the emotions.
6. What is your work ethic?
I understand this question as related to writing. Ethic for me means to write a “real” poem. Now I sense the forthcoming question which would be what is the criteria or how would you determine what “real” is. A possible answer to this question is the one of the Nobel winner of Greek origin Georgius Seferis, who answers to a similar question in the following way: “But he must somehow have an instinct—a guiding instinct—which says to him: ‘My dear boy, my dear chap, be careful; you are going to fall. You are exaggerating at this moment.'” In this sense my instinct tells me that it’s an absurdity to expect everybody to understand poetry. Whoever wants to understand everything can read newspapers or magazine news. Still it’s uncertain that one will understand everything. At that point I would like to remind the following thought of T.S. Eliot: “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.“
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
Youngsters, who tend to get highly impressed after reading an author who relates to their inner self remember this artwork and this author which remains forever in their subconscious no matter if they are aware of it or not. That’s how the model works, which we reproduce in our own way. A poem doesn’t emerge from the nowhere.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Considering my experience and age it’s hard for me to get impressed. I just get extremely happy when I come across with an author, who has his/her own unique style, who is distinguishable from the majority. I would like to point at one single name, so I don’t miss out on some of my favourite authors. Stefan Goncharov – a young poet, who established his presence in a quite powerful and mature way just within few months time and having in mind that these were his first poems! As I can say – this man was born a poet.
9. Why do you write?
With writing I’m trying to express the inexpressible.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?
In case that your question is – how can I become a professional writer, I can’t reply. I guess that this is something you can learn at the creative writing courses. For me this question has never been important. I just write. I think that if one wants to become a good writer, not only many books need to be read, but that person at a certain point needs to forget about all the knowledge and without a fear start writing in the way of expressing his/her own thoughts and feelings. To be honest with himself/herself and without thinking how to be liked by the readers. There isn’t an ultimate audience of readers that is there to like your writing. Here I would give a longer quote from the interview with Georgius Seferis – Henri Michaux “You know, my dear, a man who has only one reader is not a writer. A man who has two readers is not a writer, either. But a man who has three readers”—and he pronounced “three readers” as though they were three million—“that man is really a writer.”
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11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
At the moment I don’t run my own projects. I’m engaged as an editor of the monthly magazine, New Asocial Poetry. We are preparing surprises for the published authors and new sections. There is already a new section for translations from mostly English language. At this point I would like to say that most of the young people know English, but unfortunately only few people for whom English is their mother tongue know my language. Maybe the reason for that the Cyrillic alphabet is mistaken for the Russian alphabet. Historically is exactly the opposite. Translations require hard work, especially when the literature is created in another language. For that reason we came up with the idea of having a new section for foreign literature dedicated to foreign authors who are a living example for language’s application and usage. All the authors, who are interested in participating in such project can read more about it HERE. .Whoever wants to learn more about the publishing requirements is kindly invited to apply with his/her literature by contacting me at email@example.com.
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded. I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.
My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.