National Poetry Month Celebration
Bio: André V. Katkov received his Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from California State University San Bernardino where he is currently finishing up the last few classes required for him to receive his MFA. He owes everything and more to the great parade of people (parents, teachers, family, friends) that has forcibly stormed his life and made it a grand old mess in the process. He believes that every creative work is worth its weight in time if it finds resonance with even just a single individual and hopes that such a resonance might be found with you today.
Endangered Me: The Flightless Trapeze
Gorilla glue me to the wall
And slide sweet nothings
Down my throat.
Watch your words trickle
‘round this rumbly stomach
Side-by-side my many monarchs,
Yellowed orange gold.
Get a good look
‘cuz I’m all veins
Like a human tangle.
A one-heart highway masterpiece
Inspired by real rhythmic contraction;
The dilation of a metaphoric you.
Tumbleweed away with me,
My darling busybody blue.
You’ve scared me
Me into some sort
Of anatomical learning
We won’t need blankets for this weathered cold,
But we’ll need shoes,
I swear it.
We’ll run circles and circles of lines
And miles and miles of puttied plot
Until our soles wear down
Into gooey globs of memory
As if medals for our minds.
We are human machines
We are history books
In some silly spill
Of distant retrospect.
We are you and me
Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
I’ve conveniently been pondering this very question as I work tirelessly (though often tiredly) away at my Statement of Purpose. The simple answer, I suppose, is anywhere. Everywhere. I have this mad sort of theory that everything we undergo as individuals is internalized and painted upon this inner bio-mechanism I call the recollective emotional frame. It’s a sort of skeleton creature that exists presently from the material its gathered from time past, building itself in the way that makes the most sense by reflecting on past patterns to anticipate the most durable form for any given future. As artists, I feel that that’s where many of us draw from. We can unconsciously tap into it and write a poem or paint a painting by drawing from some hidden well in this recollective emotional frame that holds all our past love experiences. In that sense we can create art that aims itself at a vague and wide array of something that feels specific (as that vaguery is composed from a sea of details) or find a specific bit within that ocean of detail and compare it to the waters around it (like isolating a piece of cereal in a cereal bowl).
That’s how I feel we tick. Everything we’ve ever experienced is within us. It doesn’t matter if it’s forgotten, repressed, avoided… everything we’ve ever known is still there within us and it can and will speak to us given the opportunity. So life is my greatest inspiration. It doesn’t matter if I’m reacting to something I’m just taking in or reflecting on instances far gone, everything I create relates to something bigger. Everything I do is only a small brushstroke on that recollective emotional frame, that canvas of myself.
What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
Ah. A poignant question. Well, first off… if you’re reading this particular question and it pertains to you… know that I am sorry. Truly, I am. But take heart! You’re not alone! Most the world is with you, really. Even I—a poet—feel threatened by poetry more often than makes sense. It’s a very scary word, poetry is, and you’re half right to fear it! In my often less-than-humble opinion, the poetic community can be an unfortunately small and atrophied thing, an echo of a great social tradition, or even an echo’s echo. Far too often poets write for their peers’ back-pattings and inner-circle recognition. It can be a world of publishing races and who’s been in which journal and who’s read where. I’ve barely just started as a poet of poetry and I’m already mostly fatigued by watching the rat race around me as I begin to lace my shoes and wonder. It’s a silly, silly world.
But it doesn’t have to be. It hasn’t always been.
Poetry can hold so much. Stories. Lessons. Feelings. Lifetimes. Without diving too ridiculously deep into the history of the craft, I can tell you that one thing poetry has always been, at its best, is yours. Poetry is a thing for the people, preferably written by folks who are less interested in penning a message than they are by channeling one. As a religious sort, I think of how angels bear God’s message and the prophet speaks it. To the masses it might seem like the prophet’s words, but he is only an instrument for a greater voice. The poet lets the muse speak through her. The muse is not to be mastered, it is an honored guess on our tongues, invoked and released at its pleasure. As we live our lives our recollective emotional frames build with us, and it’s a poet’s duty to share that, not as an image of themselves, but as the bare essence of being that powers us and—when released into a crowd—can give energy to the weary, courage to the fearful, and music to those who’ve sat too long in silence.
So (and I apologize for this roundabout answer) if you’re feeling threatened by poetry, remember this: Poetry is supposed to be there for you.
If you don’t like some poetry you find, move on. You can always give it another chance later if you’re so inclined. Find a poet that speaks to you. A movement. A period. A single piece. A single line. You can gain an academic appreciation for the craft, but you can’t force that intrinsically kinetic resonance that fits into you like a missing piece before you’re fully aware that it’s there. Read a lot. Read a lot and do so quickly. There’s more poetry out there than you know. Slow down and smile when you find what you like, and branch out from there.
What is an interesting fact about you?
I’m a Nintendo nut. Super Mario got me some pretty snazzy grades. Long story.
Where are you from / Where do you live?
Born and raised in beautiful Redlands, California.
Who is your favorite poet?
As any poet can tell you, this is a nearly impossible question to answer. Luckily, I specialize in the impossible! I’m going to have to go with Shel Silverstein. He’s a poet who always wrote for other people and never forgot to make it fun. How can you not love that?
If you’re interested in my poetry/art/mad ramblings feel free to check out my blog, wherein I’ll be posting my writerly activity, such as forthcoming readings and publishing activity and the like as well as other such nonsense.
and/or feel free to email me with inquiries, hellos, and strange doodles at
Also, while I have the stage....
I’d like to thank my parents and my ‘lil bro for always being so supportive of me and my crazy artistness, Connie for being a ridiculously good friend and pointing out my smug mug in the crowd mugly smugness, and—of course—Yvonne Brown for being so kind as to feature my work and me for an Aprilly day during this glorious monthful of poetry!