DAVID DEPHY: A GEORGIAN / AMERICAN POET, NOVELIST, MULTIMEDIA ARTIST
1.Tell us a bit about yourself – something that we will not find in the official author’s bio?
I left Georgia for a political reason in 2017 and immigrated in USA. I started writing in English, after 8 months of my arriving. Thanks to AFI (Artistic Freedom Initiative in New York City) they helped me with my documents and with my case a lot. I am a poet, man of word and I feel that poetry is such a sacrifice, it is real, true, and tangible. It is such enormous concept, that it cannot be only my personal matter. As a writer I realize that much is demanded from me, but not much is forgiven to me… That if I figure it out by what means I want to be special, then I will understand who and what I am in reality… And, that if in our inner world and in this multi-language dictionary of the mankind survive the following words such as Freedom, Responsibility, Comfort, then the world will also survive. For me this is the mission of literature and of mine as a poet’s and novelist’s justification for existence. I am a husband and father of three children. I believe in family; family is the Divine breath and precious gift from the future.
2. Do you remember what was your first story (article, essay, or poem) about and when did you write it?
Yes, I do. I wrote three texts at the same time. One is called The Chair, a truly short story, one page, not even, another one is called The Lilac Puppy on the White Canvas and the poem under the title I Stood on the Water… I was teaching a video art at the Academy of Contemporary Arts in Georgia, that period. I was a huge fan of Peter Greenaway, Frank Lloyd Wright and when I wrote my first works, I realized that some doors opened before me. I felt some joy. I received some invitation from the other side of myself, beyond of everything. I have heard a call.
3. What is the title of your latest book and what inspired it?
In Georgian language it is called Gvirgvinosany, it means Crowned in English. This is a historical and detective novel about the greatest secret of 12 century’s world and of Georgia of course – Who was poet Rustveli? In the book I am developing idea that he was the king Demetre – Demna, who was killed officially. But I found some gaps, some chasms into the darkness of history and I said to myself – what if he escaped? And he was alive? He was in Jerusalem? The main character of the novel is Demna Batonishvili – royal prince and the legal pretender to the throne. The book wholly depicts life of Demna Batonishvili. The narration is of spellbinding appeal, Georgia and not only Georgia but the whole world of that period is ideally depicted and fairly presented by the characters of novel – Jerusalem and Shirvan, Persia and Ani city and Bagdad, heroes and anti-heroes, sultans and kings, caravans and knights, Assassins dynasty brotherhood, appearance of the three magi kings who became the friends of the main hero Demetre – Demna Batonishvili and investigate the murder case of Demna’s father, King David. This is my 8th novel, written in Georgian language.
Also, I published two books of poetry before my immigration in the US. One is the long poem – a story about understanding, belief and choice. It is called Poet King and another one the collection of poems, called The Same Fable. This is the story about freedom. That is my 14th book of poetry in Georgian language.
In English language, my poetry full book-length Eastern Star has been released by Adelaide Books on October 28, 2020 and are forthcoming A Mystiere, a novel by Mad Hat Press in 2021 and poetry Lilac Shadow of a Tree by Mad Hat Press as well. The story of A Mystiere leads us out of ourselves. This is a detective and mystical story about two poets and one novelist, and the idea is that one of them is the insane man, but we don’t know exactly who… It is up to reader.
4. How long did it take you to write your latest work and how fast do you write (how many words daily)?
A hundred of words daily. It was summer, when I started my 8th novel Crowned. I was waking up at 5 am every day. I was working as a crazy. I finished my work in six months. Unexpectedness is the way. Moving forward and trusting the flow, that is the main thing. Poem or story or even novel knows what to do with you, you must trust your own heartbeat. All the mysteries of the world are dwelling beyond fear to continue the path. Breath after breath, word after word, line after line, trusting the flow you navigate your precious ship of narrative across your own self.
5. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I think yes, I have one, and I call it silence. I feel silence in me and when I feel it, I know in that very second, that time is near, something is going on. I called this process Architecture of Sounds and Breathe.
6. Is writing the only form of artistic expression that you utilize, or is there more to your creativity than just writing?
Mainly only poetry and prose, yes, but there are many forms. Video art for example, painting, sound art as well… I recorded three audio albums of my poetry with orchestra and electronic bands. I build a text by breath and heartbeat. The architecture of feelings, sounds and visions is my poetry and prose and by the way I earned my undergraduate degree MFA from the Faculty of Architecture at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Georgia.
In all honesty I can feel the words and I can see the words as a breath and heartbeat of language – of Georgian language, and of English language. I am a Georgian/American poet and yes, spirit of us is poetry.
7. Authors and books that have influenced your writings?
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and of course Rustvely with his masterpiece The Knight in the Panther’s Skin and music, Beethoven and Georgian polyphonic songs, the album The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and poetry of Rumi, Omar Khayyam and William Blake, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and the Prophet by Gibran Kahlil Gibran.
8. What are you working on right now? Anything new cooking in the wordsmith’s kitchen?
Oh yes, I am working on poetry right now. In English language. I understand, it may sound strange, when your native and foreign language meet each other in your consciousness and find a forever home there. But this is love. Yes, love, and expressing it, especially in the language which lives inside your heart, is a supreme achievement of poetry to me, because for me poetry itself is a native language of humanity.
9. Did you ever think about the profile of your readers? What do you think – who reads and who should read your books?
For me there is only one real world in the industry of literature and especially in poetry, this is the triangle of the author, text, and reader. We are one. Readership is the church for me. This is the temple. Holy of holies. Heaven. Readers heart is heaven for poets. Living forever right in your readers’ hearts – this is a real success and a real immortality. Every word is alive, and we are alive too as long as we understand one another, as long as we believe in one another. Poet. Word. Reader. That is all.
10. Do you have any advice for new writers/authors?
Feel the joy of yourself. Feel it and share it. I know that something great, kind, powerful and beautiful is coming in the world and do not give in. Poetry is the answer to all the mysteries of our world. Poetry, a reason for the existence of language, is a breath which brings out every genuine word in that very moment when you are standing across from yourself, language, and poetry itself and have no fear, because you are free. I think that a human being gets strength from the truth and transfers that strength to others and fills them with comfort and allows them to carry on and hold on during everyday struggles. This truth for me is poetry and it has no boundaries.
11. What is the best advice (about writing) you have ever heard?
Read a lot.
Write a lot.
Cut a lot.
Said my father to me.
12. How many books you read annually and what are you reading now? What is your favorite literary genre?
I have no idea about books, how many I read and remember or just forgot. I love Moby Dick and The Prophet, I feel some mystery is dwelling beyond every great work, far away of the limits of genre. Someday it is a detective story, someday it is a drama. In all honesty I think that despite language, literature actually has no borders and the most important thing in our relationship is our wish to make the world a better place. And we must achieve it by better means. I mean poetry itself. I think this is the question of quality, first.
13. What do you deem the most relevant about your writing? What is the most important to be remembered by readers?
Love, Freedom, Responsibility and expressing them, is a crown achievement of poetry to me, because for me poetry itself is a spiritual constitution of all mankind. Forever. “How do I know when to end a poem?” I asked myself, once and realized that you do not know, no one knows. You can only feel a very precious pause and then continue breathe with another poem. This pause is magical and not always logical point of view or mind’s condition or even mind’s game. There is no end and no beginning, but memory only. Our spiritual right memory of hope and comfort. Poetry is beyond of classical understanding of time and space.
14. What is your opinion about the publishing industry today and about the ways authors can best fit into the new trends?
Sometimes it seems crazy, but sometimes crazy is the best way to go, sometimes it is OK, sometimes it is simply great. No one knows exactly what means the literary success today, just because of internet and social media. But I believe in readers of 21st century, they still can feel by heart. They still can feel a poetry. This is a big deal… and I feel I am lucky man too, I am developing my readership all around the world, I am happy that I can share my thoughts and emotions with the other people via poetry and prose and despite everyday struggle for my existence as a writer, I am not going to give in, not yet. It is so important to be readable in our noisy world. Every day I thank God for my idealistic endurance, as I am equally inspired by a good and bad event. I perceive the meaning of things only if I thoroughly study them and this research inspires me. Publisher, writer, and work… it is pretty risky but absolutely spectacular journey at the same time, when love always wins, if not, it won’t be love.