DONNY BARILLA

Poet and Lover of Words

1.Tell us a bit about yourself – something that we will not find in the official author’s bio?

Academics has never been an intellectual arena where I could learn to my fullest capacity; In fact, it was quite painful emotionally and pushed me to my further out the door. When it comes to creative writing, I am self-taught. I began writing at age seven and fell in love with it and never turned back. Writing stayed as an outlet to explore myself and the world around me. Creative writing became the pulp and flesh of the fruit for the delicacy of the mind.

2. Do you remember what was your first story (article, essay, or poem) about and when did you write it?

At age seven, my first creative work title, The Land that I Come From, was well received by my schoolmates and teachers. The poem itself has been lost to time. I recall looking through a book of famous artists and was stunned by a painting. This poem was the most heightened and drew upon a softness in my heart for the landscape of the painting which filled me with passion and desire.

3. What is the title of your latest book and what inspired it?

The title of my next book, which will be released in May, is titled, ‘By Thicket and Wood’. As the reader unfolds the pages of the book, they will discover a realm where intimacy is not only a connection of person to person, but there maintains a thorough extended metaphor where nature
Deepens into the senses and surrounding which bring people to life with color and shadow.

4. How long did it take you to write your latest work and how fast do you write (how many words daily).

It took me two weeks to write this book as the pages became alive and the connection between me and the reader strived with me.

5. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Habitually, I write from directly after dinner and continue until usually three AM. When I finish a book, I rest for two days and then continue. I drink an espresso between poems and pages as I must do to keep the long hours and to soothe the stress I place upon my brain. My quota for the number of poems a night is six. Sometimes I reach more, sometimes I fall short.

6. Is writing the only form of artistic expression that you utilize, or is there more to your creativity than just writing?

I have several creative outlets which I use as fuel for the fire within. I cook and bake every day as I feed family and friends on a daily basis. I, with a good friend, make decorative hiking sticks. Making these usually takes between a year to a year and a half. I read daily as well and I have a passion for Asian poetry, specifically, ancient Chinese wilderness poems.

7. Authors and books that have influenced your writings?

Having read many authors in the duration of my life, I can name a few: Edith Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Hermann Hesse, Pablo Neruda, Yasano Akiko and Tu Fu. I have and will continue to read and reflect upon the works of these authors for a great length of time, perhaps for the duration of my life. My favorite book, Mythology, by Edith Hamilton always strikes chords within me.

8. What are you working on right now? Anything new cooking in the wordsmith’s kitchen?

I am currently writing a book which explores the separation of life and death and how the intimacy of separation is an impossibility. I explore how the flesh is a prison and once the soul or spirit becomes removed the spirit is freed and finds tenderness as the realm of intimacy continues on it’s endless quest. The same exists as every fallen leaf and chip of the pine cone.

9. Did you ever think about the profile of your readers? What do you think – who reads and who should read your books?

When there is a reader who enjoys nature and has a passion for man’s search for spirit and eternal intimacy, I believe this is a reader who should read my books. Nature is a huge theme in every poem and every page of every story I write. This takes place everywhere even if I am not writing about nature. If a reader enjoys the themes and concepts of the changing of the seasons, I think these books I’ve written would lend themselves perfectly.

10. Do you have any advice for new writers/authors?

Over the years, I have learned discipline and structure, such as writing at the best time for the writer, writing as often as possible and heavy revision will start the young writer on a good path. I have eighty three poems in journals and magazines, but that came with about three hundred rejections. Don’t be discouraged. For each rejection, write five poems or write a story.

11. What is the best advice (about writing) you have ever heard?

My mentor, Gus Pappas, Asked me on one of the first chats we had, “why haven’t you sent anything out yet?” I lied and told him I forgot. He claimed, “with that attitude, you’ve already lost.’ Those words stuck with me and tenderly, I kicked my writing into high gear.

12. How many books you read annually and what are you reading now? What is your favorite literary genre?

I really have a love for poetry. Currently, I am reading a book of Chinese poetry by Tu Fu. Annually, I read about fifty books a year. A book a week seems to be the number for me. I spend plenty more time writing than I do reading as in my lifetime, I have written about forty books, but not all will be published, that’s how it goes.

13. What do you deem the most relevant about your writing? What is the most important to be remembered by readers?

I am a poet who writes beautiful images which capture the reader and bring the poet closer to the book. Closer to the words themselves, how these words are arranged on the page.

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