Potholes & Perogies, a new collection of poems by poet Ken Tomaro, looks at the mundane through darkened lenses. Everyday themes like love and loneliness are confronted with stark honesty and captivating imagery. In our discussion with Tomaro, he analyzes how his style of writing is something that anybody can connect with.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
What sparked your initial love of poetry?
That question is kind of funny to me as I never cared for poetry, even when I first started writing it. I don’t like rhyming stanzas (It reminds me too much of nursery rhymes and my poetry is anything but). I don’t like poets who use big words to try to be artsy or sound more intelligent. A few years ago a friend introduced me to the writer Charles Bukowski. You love him or hate him and that’s a whole other conversation but I liked his style of writing, very simple, not long winded and on topics I could certainly relate to. Because of my depression my mind works in these short bursts of words so I thought I would give poetry a try since that format works better with how my own brain works. It seems to work as I’ve been published in several magazines, interviewed a couple times and been on a podcast or two which is more than I ever expected. I started writing just to clear my head and it’s turned into a few opportunities here and there.
Tell us about Potholes & Perogies and the inspiration behind it.
It has been the same inspiration as all my books…simply telling little stories on the themes of everyday life and love, depression, dreams, childhood memories, no matter how mundane they are.
Describe your book’s ideal reader.
I’d like to think my body of work appeals to just about anyone as it covers real life but anyone with a dark sense of humor or anyone who understands what depression is like for sure. If you like nature or reminiscing about childhood maybe my writing sparks something in those people as well.
What do most well-written poems have in common?
For me poems/poetry have to do two things. First, I feel like they should tell some kind of story. It doesn’t have to be a novel length story. I’ve written and know other poets who have written 5 or 6 lines and absolutely told a great story. Second, for me poetry has to make sense and I don’t think you need big descriptive words or pages and pages to do that. I don’t know of anyone who sits down to read poetry because they want to be annoyed or confused by it, but I think that’s why a lot of people stay away from it. I have no facts on this, it is simply my personal opinion.
Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?
I think so. I still think there is a lot of bad poetry out there but for me to figure out what poetry is to me was kind of a big thing.
What’s the biggest myth about writing/the creative process?
To me, maybe not so much a myth, but the idea that you should find time every day to sit down and write. I think when your force yourself, you don’t always get the greatest quality of work and that’s what it turns into, work, rather than something you enjoy doing.
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
I’m always working on something. I have 4 books on Amazon, 3 sitting in limbo until I figure out my best options, as well as several chapbooks that are ready to go. I currently have a poetry-comic book hybrid that is mostly finished but I’m having some technical difficulties with the formatting at the moment. The creative process never stops.
How can readers keep in touch with you?