INTERVIEW WITH JASON WRIGHT
by Jennifer LeBlanc
Jason Wright you edit Oddball Magazine!, and when I visited the website, I saw that you have almost 100 posts- congratulations on this milestone! When did you begin the magazine, and what inspired you in your vision for the journal?
Well, first off, thank you. We worked very hard to reach 100 posts. Now we are a hundred and 3… how’s that for prolific? To answer your question, I started Oddball Magazine online in
2009… I didn’t start reaching out to poets and artists until the summer of 2010. However, Oddball Magazine has been around since 1998. Originally, the magazine was called Jagged Thoughts, and Oddball was considered the publishing company. It was Oddball Publishing presents Jagged Thoughts, the magazine for anyone who isn’t anything. Then, as I grew up, it became Oddball Magazine- Poems for the intelligent and alienated. And when I began putting together the magazine in a serious fashion, we simply shortened it to Oddball (jt). We being Rob Martin and I with contributors like 3.14, Andrew Borne, and Rant Poet. Then I began the online route… and I plan on publishing a street mag for January 2011. Big news and exciting stuff for Oddball Magazine! in the near future. If you notice, many of the Oddball crew stop by to put something up… even Randy, the original Oddball, has stopped by to say what’s up… and people like Tim Folan, who drew the cover art for the first magazine, stop by, too. It really is a family thing. Once you’re a part of Oddball, you’re part of mi familia. Did that answer your question?
-Yes! You incorporate various media on the magazine’s website- video, photographs, artwork. Can you talk about the aesthetics of the magazine and your vision regarding the visuals that accompany the literature?
Well basically, art is art, poetry is art, and poetry and art make beautiful sense to me. So when I am given a poem, I try and get whoever… be it Nawaz, or Rob, Leanna, Lisa, Pana, whoever… to work to put what I like to call the best post possible. Choosing art for a poem or piece is a process of working with the author and coming to a decision. Like when Rant wanted those pictures for her poem “Beautiful, Ugly Things,” I was like, seriously, this is what you want for the magazine… and she was adamant, and we took the most beautiful ugly pictures of her possible. Rant is gonna kill me for that one. Also, the videos were a way of personalizing the magazine… I wasn’t hiding behind any bullshit walls. You want to see me, here I am. Also, I think that there is a closeness to the readers, the poets, and artists. We strive for real.
On the magazine’s website, you express your interest in receiving reader feedback and comments via Twitter. How do you see new technology and social networking sites changing how writers share their work and the level of reader response/involvement?
The Twitter experiment, however daunting, seems to work, however not as great as I wanted it to be. Let’s be honest, not everyone has a reason to tweet. I just tweet to let people know about the magazine. I could care less about celebrities. Though I do follow The Grouch and Evidence.
Reading some of your poetry in Oddball Magazine!, I noticed that you write about, among other topics, social justice, family, and work. What subjects and ideas are most important to your poetry?
That’s such a loaded question, I love it. What fuels me to write? I write because that’s all I know how to do, besides managing my magazine and pulling CSR’s (God, I just made a joke about work). I mean, I write about everything. Lately I have been letting other poets use the Oddball soapbox, but when I have something on my mind, I’ll let it out. (Like the piece about Eyedea. His death fueled me to write.) Sad story, really. I guess to answer your question, what matters to me at the moment is what I write about. I guess the themes that you mentioned are quite accurate. Social Justice, like Guru said, “there’s no Justice, just us.”
Many of your prose poems end with, “just another jagged thought by jason.” (Wonderful rhythm and alliteration!) Can you comment on the meaning behind this, as well as your choice to write prose poems?
When I can’t think of anything to write, I call it a free prose. I just write as fast as I can, without stopping. What comes out is a poem, or a piece of shit. Either way, it has been therapeutic. By the way, Jagged Thoughts does have a story to it. When I
was young, my first girlfriend gave me a journal as a gift. She peppered it with Beatles songs, and colors, and suns and whatever. She was a special person… anyway, her name was Kaitlyn O’Brien. She gave me the book, and that was the beginning of Jagged Thoughts. My first jagged thought was at the end of my first poem… it was so angsty. I was young, and it was great to be mad all the time… anyway, my first jagged thought was… Love is a fake feeling that turns to remorse, just another jagged thought. I kept it, and a much older and wiser editor I am, and when I write, I’ll sign off with “just another jagged thought by Jason,” usually when free prose is involved. Finally, what is your composition process? I believe poetry comes from the heart, and whatever my heart is beating, that’s the rhythm, that’s the process, that’s what comes.
Any last thoughts or comments you want to add?
My advice for young writers is to do it because you have to, not because you want to. Writers do not choose to write. They are born with ink in their blood. Do it for the love. Do it for love, let it all out on the page, and don’t think too long about it. Let this world of confusion make sense through your pen, if only through your pen. And of course, finally, read Oddball Magazine!. By the way, we are open to all kinds of submissions.
Check out our submission guidelines, and become a part of something big. http://www.oddballmagazine.com Poems for the intelligent and alienated. The magazine for anyone who isn’t anything. For those who can’t read, but love to write… Oddball. Haha. Thanks, Jennifer. This has been fun.
read the full article at http://www.cervenabarvapress.com