In November of 2016, the Paper Plane Pilots had the honor of publishing Feasting on Sky by Eric Morago.
I initially met Eric during my undergraduate studies. The writing circle at my school announced a reading featuring Eric Morago. After hearing his poetry, I bought his book and proceeded to follow his writing for the next four years.
Eric’s poetry had a large influence on the growth of my writing. I had initially sought a degree in creative writing to develop my fiction, but after hearing Eric read, I realized that I gravitated toward contemporary poetry.
Thanks to Eric, I am now not just a poet, but a publisher of poetry working with some of my major influences.
Now, four years later, I’m pleased to present to you an interview with Eric Morago on his latest book published by Paper Plane Pilot Publishing, Feasting on Sky:
SK: What was your main goal with Feasting on Sky?
My last book was more of a collection about love and longing, and with Feasting on Sky, I wanted the narrative to evolve and take risks. My goal, working on these poems, was to explore subject matter that was uncomfortable to confront, to shine light on some of those guarded parts of myself that I keep hidden from the everyday world. As someone who struggles with anxiety on an almost daily basis, there’s often a lot of shame associated with admitting it, but in my poems, I find I can take ownership over it.
SK: What type of poetry do you aim to write? Who is your demographic?
I set out to write poems that communicate to the reader, and audience, what I am thinking and feeling in way that allows them room to infer their own meaning. In doing so, I hope my poems reward with multiple readings. I consider my style direct and sincere. As for my demographic, I want my poetry enjoyed by the “everyman,” by those who wouldn’t expect they’d like hearing/reading a poem, so I strive to make my work, as Billy Collins would say, “hospitable.” I try never to alienate my readers with ambiguous imagery or obtuse language, yet still strive to explore complex themes.
SK: You write a lot about mental illness in this book. What effect do you hope to have by elucidating this topic?
I hope to empower others who suffer from some form of mental illness and to start a dialogue about how it’s more normal than not to feel a little abnormal.
SK: Who are your main influences as a writer?
I tend to gravitate to poets who write clearly and with a razor’s edge honesty. I enjoy reading poems that are bravely imaginative and offer surprising imagery. I like poets that make me laugh as well. There are so many poets I could name that have inspired and influenced me over the years, but if I had to name three who have had the biggest effect on my growth as a writer, I’d give credit to Charles Harper Webb, Ron Koertge, and Mindy Nettifee.
SK: What role does your humor play in this book?
Humor plays a large role not only in this book, but also in my writing. I think humor is the perfect vehicle to drive a reader through complex emotion. Humor is healing. When we laugh, we open ourselves to the bigger truths of the universe, reflect, and release.
SK: What does performance provide that unspoken words can’t? Is there a particular poem from this collection that you love performing?
Performance allows a poet to really bring a particular piece to life. Not all poets are skilled in performance, nor do they need to be. But, if a poet knows how to read well, they can captivate and engage an audience with more than just their words on the page. As far as a particular poem from the book that I love performing, it changes based on how I’m feeling on that particular day and on the audience.
SK: What do you think poetry can achieve that other forms of writing can’t?
I think poetry, as a writing form, can offer a more concise and intimate look into an experience, and benefits from the musicality of language more so than other genres of writing can.
SK: What do you particularly love about the literary scene in Los Angeles?
What I love most about the literary scene in Los Angeles is its diversity of voices, and how vastly rich this city’s poetry is with its history and culture.
SK: Do you have any social media links you would like to share?
Sure. If people want to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing in the poetry world, they can like my Facebook author page . You can also follow me on Instagram where I usually post pictures of my dogs, Legos, and sometimes my writing life.
SK: What’s next for Eric?
I’ll be setting up readings throughout Spring for Feasting on Sky, but will also be starting an exciting chapter in my life as the new publisher and editor-in-chief of Moon Tide Press. I am very grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to giving back to so many deserving writers (and readers) of great poetry.
If you are in Los Angeles and would like the chance to see Eric perform in the coming weeks he will be a feature at:
Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach with the Redondo Poets on Tuesday January 17th at 8 PM.
1820 S Catalina Ave #102
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
He will also be a feature for Two Idiots Peddling Poetry at The Ugly Mug in Orange on Wednesday January 25th at 8 PM ($3 cover).
261 N Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866
Eric Morago is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominated poet who believes performance carries as much importance on the page, as it does off. Currently he hosts a monthly reading series, teaches writing workshops, and serves as an associate editor for the online literary journal, FreezeRay Poetry. Eric is the author of What We Ache For (Moon Tide Press) and has an MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Long Beach. He lives with his wife and three dogs in Los Angeles, California.
Sara Khayat was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is editor-in-chief of Paper Plane Pilot Publishing. Her latest book, ¶: unspeakable poems, is an experimentation with
strikethrough and language (nouns that become verbs, verbs that become nouns in different contexts). She always chose truth over dare at elementary school parties. Proof of her writing can be dated all the way back to old kindergarten findings and floppy disks. Her mind is full of wildflowers, ladybugs and grey matters. Give her a shout and she’ll give you a whisper.