Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/4/15 – “Poetry has always been the perfect form for me, because in just a single page, it can inspire so many emotions and so much imagination.” Frank Watson, poet and author of new book, “Dollhouse Mirror” told The Hollywood Times.
All the poems in this new book are free verse, which complements a collection whose subjects range from nursery rhyme characters to dolls to Tarot images and figures. Some of the collection’s strongest poems deal with the tarot, a subject that fits well with the dual themes of beauty and terror. Many of the poems’ haunting images are reminiscent of the works of novelist Angela Carter, whose work frequently drew from fairy tales and folk tales.
The Hollywood Times had a phone conversation this past weekend with Frank Watson regarding his new book of poems, released October 20th, 2014. Frank Watson was born in Venice CA and lived in California the past years and now lives in New York City. He told THT that he moved to New York because his type of work, which is, first of all, in the investment industry, there are more finance companies in New York than LA. He likes the variety of culture within the City of New York, but the weather is not one of them. We both laughed about that comment. Frank Watson is 38 years old and single.
Frank Watson believes there is no place quite like it in the world, there are other big metropolitan cities that he has traveled to like Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris and Rome, all which have unique qualities about them, but nothing like the vibrancy that New York City has to offer. Hundreds of different cultures to be found within the city.
His story goes, that he did not finish school and did poorly in high school and was bored, which led to him dropping out in the 10th grade. After a year of loafing around, he went to a credited home school and got his GED and went onto college and finished his Bachelor’s Degree. He started writing poetry and got it published in the literally magazine in school and continued his business career, but really liked the economy of poetry when done really well.
He continues to read a great deal of poetry in his 20s and in his early 30s he wanted to learn more languages and he enjoyed Japanese and the haiku form really got his attention. He also studied and he wanted to see how he could translate it into English and have it available on Twitter and it did well.
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu’s book “100 Poems by 100 Poets” gave him the idea to start translating them and decided to put it into a book which was called “One Hundred Leaves” and found great artwork to go with each poem. This helped him to create the book and today it still sells well just via online ordering only.
He started learning how to translate from Chinese poems, which in turn taught him how to write better poems of his own. He has come a long way from Venice, having parents who he considered hippies. His father didn’t think school was good for him, that he could learn from his own experiences. He appreciated this advice from his father, but was glad that he went back to school. He has had an interesting journey that has led to his new book “Dollhouse Mirror.”
Here is list of the poets that have influenced him from around the world:
Japan: Manyoshu (10,000 Leaves, a classic poetry anthology), Hyakunin Isshu (100 Poets, One Poem Each, another classical anthology, which I translated in a book called One Hundred Leaves), Kokinshu (Old and New Poems, another anthology), Ono no Komachi (a classic female tanka poet), Murasaki Shikibu (author of The Tale of Genji, the world’s first novel, which also includes hundreds of tanka poems–it was one of the first books that made me interested in Japanese poetry), Monk Saigyo (a Japanese tanka poet and Buddhist monk), Matsuo Basho (the most famous haiku poet and probably the single biggest influence on me), and Yosa Buson (another famous haiku poet and painter).
China: Dao De Jing (also written Tao Te Ching, by Laozi, a famous Chinese philosopher who wrote in a poetic style), 300 Tang Dynasty Poems (a classical anthology of classic Chinese poems), Li Bai (also written Li Po, a romantic poet), Du Fu (also written Tu Fu, a scholarly poet), Wang Wei (a nature poet), and 100 Poems from the Chinese (a translation of Chinese poems by Kenneth Rexroth)
India: Bhartri (Sanskrit poet)
Persia: Hafez (14th century mystical and love poet)
Italy: Catullus (Latin poet around 84-54 BC), Martial (1st Century Latin epigram poet), (Guido Cavalcanti (13th century troubadour), Giacomo Leopardi (19th Century Italian poet)
Spain & Spanish World: Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (19th Century romantic poet), Pablo Neruda (20th Century Chilean romantic poet)
France: Louise Labé (16th century female poet),Charles Baudelaire (19th Century early modernist poet), Arthur Rimbaud (19th Century romantic / early modernist poet, influenced the songs of Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison), Paul Verlaine (19th Century early modernist poet)
Germany: Paul Celan (20th Century Jewish-German poet who survived the Holocaust but never recovered from the emotional impact)
Britain & English World: Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard (Earl of Surrey), William Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, E.E. cummings, Francis James Child’s anthology, English and Scottish Popular Ballads
Frank Watson finds is very interesting in translating poetry from different cultures and countries and the different ways to express human feelings. He found out that everyone has the same feelings, but it is described differently and this was quite interesting to him as to how poems are expressed throughout the world. He has found how to express the same basis feeling from translating poetry from other languages.
He also enjoys walking around the streets of Wall Street when it is not busy and he will stop and start dictating into his phone about what he is feeling. He takes about one hour out of his busy work day to inspire himself to write poetry and also to stare at artwork and imagine himself as one of the characters in the painting and this inspires him to write a poem.
His poems come from his dreams, his nightmares, his daily reflections and also from even reading someone else’s poems and to try and answer that poem with his own words to come up with yet another poem. Frank Watson really likes Twitter because of the social aspect of it. He writes a poem and someone will respond to that poem and it becomes a long response poem and he gets ideas this way. The Japanese did something like this years ago and he finds it very fascinating that we have come back to this way with Twitter. He gets responses from all over the world and interaction is amazing.
To get involved in Frank Watson’s Twitter account, go to:
Social media is Frank Watson’s marketing arena and gets inspirations by reading other poets work and communicating with them to come up with poetry ideas. “It is a great tools for poets to have access to this social media of today,” says Frank Watson.
Frank Watson loves to go to Jazz Clubs in New York and enjoys walking around the Manhattan area to get inspirations and to take down notes for inspirations to write a poem.
He is currently digging deeper into Chinese poetry, because he plans to come out with an anthology of his translations at some point. He would like to collect the hundred best Chinese poems in terms of how they are translated into English, whether they are a great poem in Chinese he has to see which one comes out in the best translation to English.
Longer term, he would like to get a better overview of Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic poetry, before circling back to the classic Latin and Greek poets. He tries to read a little bit each day and fill in the gaps in his knowledge. He is hoping to continue developing poetrynook.com, which is a collection of over 200,000 classical poems as well as hundreds of thousands of Classical Chinese poems and to make that a resource for any poems wanted to read and to showcase their poems.
With Valentine’s just around the corner, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Frank Watson’s new book of poems for the loved one in your life. It would make a great gift containing some amazing poems. Click the link below to order the book today.
Also available is “One Hundred Leaves” and “Seas to Mulberries”, which can be purchased on the following site:
Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 2014
Page count: 68pp
Publisher: Plum White Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: Dec. 31st, 2014