It's my pleasure to offer you this brief but personally important interview with the person I call the David Bowie of Poetry, Dena Rash Guzman. Dena was one of the first poets we published here at Hobo Camp Review, and her work seeks to challenge, entertain, enlighten, and rock out. But challenge might be the key word there. Dena tackles important issues with incisive daggers and lines, stanzas and razor blades. Her game is strong, especially when she's not playing games anymore. I have known few poets as fearless as Dena, and it's an honor to have her back. Please do seek out her work. Thanks.
: You were one of the first
poets who came to the camp and helped get us started. I think it was sometime
around 2009/2010. How do you feel you’ve evolved as a writer since that time? Camp Review
Dena Rash Guzman: Yes! I'm so glad I found the Camp. You were the third editor to ever publish me, and your encouragement was important to me. I've written since I was a child, but I got more enthusiastic and open about it when I reached my thirties. Then, I wrote up to three or four poems a night. I read and wrote late into the night each night. I still work the same way. The output is different now. My poems aren't only love poems now, and I've also written plays, personal essays, book reviews, and short stories.
DRG: When I moved to the
Oregon woods, I was
isolated. Town was a dangerous 25 minute drive and I had no friends. During
that time, the beauty and unrelenting horrors of nature began to deeply inform
my work. That's not to say I wrote only about nature, but the wild solitude and
loneliness crept into my writing, and my hands worked in soil, and I learned to
use a machete, I kept bees. Then, I became involved with the nearby Portland
literary community and one in Shanghai,
but before those things happened, it was me and a lot of trees. I was isolated
to the extent it concurred to me that Thoreau was a poser. He could walk to
town in a few and had many friends.
DRG: I'm awful at answering this question. I have a huge stack of books I'm working through. Huge. I'm reading a lot of literary journals as well. I'm listening more closely to the voices of the marginalized.
DRG: No haiku except Japanese haiku.
DRG: I let go of the fear of upsetting social norms and establishments.
DRG: I'm writing a book about the universe and my female ancestors. Joseph, my recent book, is a study of a woman's response to oppression. It veers from empathetic, lovelorn, furious, and hilarious. Now, I want to write a book about survival of the women whose blood runs in me.
DRG: I want to travel with Anthony Bourdain, because he has great leads. Knowing people who live in places new to you, that's very helpful. I would love to travel from front porch to front porch with poet Lucille Clifton, and finally, my dad, who is not only a writer and painter but incredibly fun to travel with.
Bio: Dena Rash Guzman poems, short stories and plays have been published, performed and anthologized in
Shanghai, , San
Francisco, Madrid New
and beyond. She is the author of Life Cycle (Dog On A Chain Press, 2013) and
JOSEPH (Hologram Press, 2017.)
She lives near
Her latest book can be ordered here: http://www.powells.com/book/joseph-9780998456713/1-2
And here: https://www.hologrampress.co/