Interview Spotlight: Ashley Dioses
Happy Wednesday! Today Halloween Haunts features an interview spotlight with poet Ashley Dioses whose poetry has recently been featured in Weirdbook 41 from Wildside Press and The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy (Issue Six).
Halloween Haunts: Welcome Ashley! Having started writing during your pre-teen years, what drew you to the poetry format?
Ashley Dioses: Thank you! My dad was a poet and wrote a lot of children’s poetry that he read to me and my brother when we were young. When I read Poe for the first time when I was twelve, I didn’t realize that horror poetry existed or that one could write horror poetry, and I just took off from there.
HH: Was your focus initially horror? If not, what led you to the horror genre?
AD: I was, and still am, a huge fantasy fan but for some reason reading fantasy didn’t propel me into writing fantasy poetry. My dad was also a huge fan of horror and when I was older (older being around eight years old) he started me out with giving me Clive Barker and other horror books for me to read. I was hooked on horror ever since.
HH: After college, you broadened your writing to include weird fiction, with inspiration from Clark Ashton Smith and H. P. Lovecraft for instance. What elements attracted you to weird fiction
AD: I was used to reading modern horror authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with Poe and Mary Shelly being the only exceptions. I think the modern tropes made me closed-minded and I just wasn’t aware, or prepared for the rich language and stories written in weird fiction. Weird fiction just sent me to another universe.
HH: How has your writing matured with that infusion?
AD: A lot of my older poetry didn’t make sense and had no discernible plots. They were primarily focused on images, descriptions, and emotions. I think I’ve expanded on that by adding narrative and having some sort of story and plot in them now. Also by reading so much more horror, fantasy, and weird fiction my inspiration has changed and I’m writing fresh new tales into my poetry.
HH: Shifting focusing just a bit, I find that people shy away from poetry as being difficult to connect with or understand. Do you see this as an opportunity to educate and change skeptics into fans or at least appreciators of poetry?
AD: I find it odd when I hear people say, “I don’t like poetry; I just don’t get it.” That’s like saying, “I don’t like movies or I don’t like fiction; I just don’t get it.” There may be some poetry one doesn’t get or maybe a lot of poetry, but saying that to any and every poem is ridiculous. Does one stop reading books because a few of them don’t make sense? Maybe, but would you apply that experience to every book ever written?
I was told that a few older poems I wrote didn’t make sense and then I realized, they were right. That is when I started adding narratives and plots to my poems to create a story. A poem is simply another medium to tell stories.
I also had someone who purchased my poetry collection, Diary of a Sorceress, read it, then messaged me saying that they were surprised with it because it doesn’t suck. Seriously. Poetry shouldn’t be some obscure thing one doesn’t understand. When poetry has a story, it can have just as powerful an impact as if it was a fiction piece.
HH: Ashley, what three tips would you give our readers who are interested in writing poetry?
AD: Read lots of different kinds of poetry, find a style you like, and practice writing in that form or non-form.
HH: Advice to writers is to read, a lot. I imagine the same advice holds true for poets. Should a poet just read poetry, or do you suggest reading all forms – flash fiction, short fiction, novellas, novels?
AD: I would always start with reading lots of poetry first. There are all kinds. By getting to know forms or free verse you are training your brain into getting a feel for their structure. Then I would encourage everyone to read all other mediums. That would help in getting inspiration as well as enriching your vocabulary, language, and story-building concepts.
HH: As we wrap up, where can readers find you in social media and what new projects are coming up for you in the next few months?
AD: I can be found on Facebook and Twitter, @adioses14, and on my blog fiendlover.blogsot.com.
I’m currently finishing up my next poetry collection, The Withering, which is a collection of 50 of my best juvenilia poetry from my pre-teen years to my early twenties. I am also working on my next poetry collection of new poems, Diary of a Vampyress, which is about halfway done.
HH: Ashley, thank you so much for your time and insight into the wonderful world of poetry!
AD: Thank you so much for having me!
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