An Interview with Jesse Prado
Jeremy Boyd: So, going off the title of your new chapbook, Notes from Work, is poetry considered work? Is Twitter work?
Jesse Prado: I would say yes, probably for most people, poetry and Twitter takes a lot of hard work to excel in. But I think in the same way, everyone’s work method is different, so what seems like work to one poet might not be to another. For example, my method, the method I used to write Notes From Work was largely based on my experiences and interactions I had with other people. Every note in there was a reaction to something that happened at work. And the reaction was usually either a reiteration of the event that included an interpretation of it, or the reiteration of the event was an interpretation in itself. Either way, all of them were written down on folded up brown pastry bags I carried around with me throughout every shift I worked at this Peet’s Coffee & Tea. And I would and could say any medium you use to write can be seen the same way I saw those pastry bags for those 2-3 years I spent working on NFW.
JB: You have a great way of turning a banal observation or vague thought into something that sprawls with meaning - was that an intention of this work? What was the process for determining what would make the cut for the book? What made certain observations stand out? Were there any other observations from work that didn't make the cut for the book that you might want to share? (sorry for so many questions in this one question)
JP: Thanks, I don’t know if I can say it’s something I did on purpose for this chapbook, but I have a tendency towards double meanings, so whatever reason I choose to write something down is usually something very much to do with that. I don’t know if it’s something you see a lot of in this book. But I guess you’re saying you do, so it is. Again, I don’t think it was done as intentionally as a rule of thumb for NFW as it usually is for my social media, Twitter and Tumblr, in particular. But rules for my poetry/writing are not usually something I make up, unless it’s something I keep doing. For example, I decided that I needed so many notes about Donna, Jorge, and Jake, simply because I wrote, maybe, 1-3 notes about them in the process of writing NFW. So to better answer your question of how I determined what went into NFW, I would say it was determined by whatever kept happening, or what seemed to be most recurring.
JB: Other than poetry, what are some other art forms that draw you in? Do these other interests inform your writing? If so, how?
JP: In writing, I enjoy reading a lot of other types of writing besides poetry; fiction, non-fiction, journalism, etc. Music and film. To the second part of your question I would say, yes, these art forms do inform a lot of my work in a way that could/couldn’t quite possibly be considered unhealthy to a lot of professional artists at times. For example, a couple, to maybe a few summers ago, I couldn’t write for shit unless I had read something like 30 pages of anything else first. That hasn’t changed. Only now my writing probably depends on a lot more than reading/how much art I’ve consumed in that day. Now my writing needs could be anything, so if I can’t write it’s probably because I need to be doing something else that may not have anything to do with art at all, like, laundry, bills, answering questions like these, etc.
JB: What was Costa Rica like?
JP: We didn’t go.
JB: What's the most frustrating thing about being a poet in 2018?
JP: To me a better question would be “What’s the most frustrating thing about being a writer in 2018.” It’s hella hard.
JB: Do you think these poems will inspire people to workout in non-workout clothes?
JP: I hope not. I hate it when I see people doing that.
JB: Do you think it's better for poets to be alone mostly, or with other people? Why?
JP: It really depends on how either one benefits you as a poet, or what you’re working on and what method you’re using to write it. Where NFW was largely based on the interactions I had with coworkers and other people, CA Conrad’s Somatic Rituals needed no interactions with anyone to be carried out, so I don’t think either way is necessarily “better” to me.
Jesse Prado is the associate editor of Be About It Press and the author of 2 chapbooks; Notes from Work (2018, Nomadic Press) and i've been on tumblr (2014, Be About It Press). He loves running and he lives somewhere in California.
Jeremy Boyd is a 26 year old poet, substitute teacher, grad student, and soccer coach. His chapbook of poems, I Wanna Be Petty / I Will Be Great is currently available from Ghost City Press on their website and at Berl's Poetry in Brooklyn, and his micro-chapbook Step Parents: A Creation Myth was released last month as part of GCP's 2018 Summer Series.