The poetry editors, Rappahannock Review: “Good Vibrations” is one of the prose poems you are working on that focus on MTV’s top 91 videos of 1991. Where did your desire to explore this theme come from?
Daniel Romo: It was just a quirky year for music. I watched a few different music videos and noticed the various amounts of genres that were popular. Such a random assortment. Such diversity. And I liked that.
RR: 91 prose poems is a huge undertaking. What keeps you focused on this project, and do you have any rituals you follow in order to engage with the subject?
DR: Well, actually, the project is on hold. Sometimes I’m a little too ambitious, a little too motivated. I begin projects and move on to others. I’m sure I’ll get back to it, someday. But my first publisher asked me to write a chapbook for her and that is my focus. I’m writing about something that means a lot to me, so I’m devoting the bulk of my literary time to that.
RR: The idea of youth is a significant theme in “Good Vibrations”. What drove you to focus on this theme?
DR: The goal for the project was to insert some aspect of my life into every poem. To make it relevant to the video. This one was easy because I had a horrible self-image when I was an adolescent. I was always extremely self-conscious about how skinny I was. I would’ve loved to have looked like Marky Mark. Over time I began lifting weights, and today my body reflects that. But I still see that skinny kid, ashamed of the way he looked.
RR: You have been extremely productive in the last several years, having authored two books, a chapbook, and publishing in several journals. How do you maintain such a high level of output and quality?
DR: I read a lot. Hence, I write alot. It’s just what I do. And after that, I submit what I write because I enjoy sharing my words with others.
RR: Outside of poetry, you are also an accomplished photographer. Have you found that these two fields crossover in any way, with one providing inspiration for the other?
DR: Writing is more of a lifestyle for me. Photography is a hobby. When I notice something I encounter that I feel the need to write about, I do. When I notice something I encounter that I feel the need to photograph, I sometimes do. Writing is a need. Photography is a desire. Photography is fun. Writing is hurting.
“Good Vibrations” appears in Rappahannock Review issue 2.2.
Daniel Romo is the author of When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His work can be found in The Los Angeles Review, Gargoyle, Yemassee, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and is the Head Poetry Editor for Cease, Cows and Co-founder/Editor at Wherewithal. He lives in Long Beach, CA and at danielromo.net.