Villanueva digs into his poems, at times mythical, who yearns to understand his connections to his history and his emotions.
Many years ago, I was looking at the first poem I ever published just after it was published. I walked to my kitchen, opened the trashcan, and pushed the journal through the trash all the way in the bottom; there, I thought. Now there’s one less chance anybody ever sees that. Then it ended up in Best American Poetry ’05.
Visually, I don’t want my poem to look weird. I want it to look totally normal on the page. I want it to appear normal and accessible, so that when weird things start happening people have less of a reason to question things.
If I open my inner ear to a particular frequency and tune in often and carefully enough, I can hear the music of the words. Poems come to me as sound first and foremost. The visual element comes second, possibly even third. As the words come to me, I whisper them aloud. I mutter to myself. I write down those quiet mutterings in a continuous longhand scrawl. I say to myself, don’t judge, don’t judge, don’t judge.
The translated poem is a new song, reflecting Di Giorgio’s angels: they come in and out of the foreground as a buzzing hologram. Sometimes they can be seen as half-imagined dreams. Other times they are seen as vibrantly as the living are seen. Sometimes they die and litter the earth.
What Maseé says is that if you want to emphasize poetry, if you want to emphasize meaning, and not even just meaning but what you’re supposed to be feeling in that phrase, or in that stanza, you have to be actively evocative.
Now that you’re drunk, read the poem as if you were lecturing the president. Add an arpeggiator. What the fuck does that sound like? Read it as if you don’t know half the words. Deeply, then falsetto. Try to fit the poem into Gucci Mane’s flow. Stop listening to hip-hop if you start thinking too much about earnestness and self-parody, minstrel shows.
I would be most inclined to compare my poetry to some really self-consciously horny gay indie rock. I don’t intend it to come across that way, but it seems like I talk about my genitals a lot more than most poets.
I think now and then I manage to take a piece and rock the mic like a vandal, but one of my favorite forms of collaboration is to write a poem and hand it as a script to a filmmaker.
What I’m drawn to is not only the beauty of rhythmic language, but the pacing itself. In my own work, I’m always stealing from the work of other writers, from their diaries, from newspapers, and from bits of conversation that I overhear. Most of what I’m stealing relates to sound: rhythm, rhyme, tone and word choice.