Featured Author: Mike Jurkovic
Why do you write? What purpose does writing serve for you currently?
I've always needed therapy. Especially now. But I'm too cheap to go see a psychiatrist. So I go with a pad and a pen and hope someone comes to the readings.
Y'know, you always hear comics say how good some politician or athlete or actress is for comedic sustainability. That's how I feel about the orange king. We all have to write about him. Mock him. Defy him.
That's why I'm writing these days. And though there's some vaporous allusion to politics in most of my stuff, I've jumped the shark of late. I'm just putting it out there. Fuck it. Come n get me.
How do you usually start a poem, story, etc?
Honestly, in an altered state of mind w/o any idea of beginning, middle or end. Well maybe sometimes a beginning, but I have no idea how they'll end. And should the rare occurrence arrive that I know the ending, I usually have no idea how I got there.
Then, utterly influenced by rhythm and humor, the altered state engages those influences and I scribble freely. Much of what I do is so modular I can plug one piece of something unused from notebooks past and, because of the current chaos, or shock doctrine as Naomi Klein calls it, it exposes something new.
I'll edit and perform the piece totally straight. I always edit straight. I might have a glass of wine or a cocktail before a reading, but that's the discipline, or the superstition, I guess.
How do you know when a piece is finished?
As I mentioned, I'm strongly influenced by rhythm and humor. Jazz. Chaplin, Bob Newhart, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher, George Carlin.. Carol Lombard and Gracie Allen had timing like no others. Woody Allen, The Marx Brothers.
If I think I've hit a strong punch line and it sounds like the music for that particular piece is done, the poem is done. I'm lazy that way. The less words the better. Saves me and the reader/listener a lot of fatigue. But trust me, if today I happen to be one of the thousand species that die each day, whoever bothers to ransack through the archives will find way more unfinished thoughts than finished ones.
What writers/artists are influencing you right now?
The fucked state of America is and has been my biggest influence. Can't say many writers inspire me, though when we're doing Calling All Poets and someone blows me away with a piece he or she has written, I'll get sparked up. As far as musical artists, jazz, pure and simple. The locked in 4/4 of rock n roll has worn thin for me.
What do you want people to know about your work?
What question do you wish I asked you?
I wish you'd asked if I was a Herman's Hermits fan. Yes I was. I always write with a pop aesthetic.
That's the best I can do.