Featured Interview With Matt Nagin
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, in a little town called Jericho. I now live in Manhattan. I'm a creative type, or try to be. I'm an actor, standup comedian, writer, filmmaker and educator. I love to travel and I've had the opportunity to do so more than most. Some of my favorite places, of those I've been lucky enough to visit, include Japan, Costa Rica, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Russia and Israel.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I always read books, but as a kid it was more because my parents encouraged it. I never really developed a real interest in literature until I was around 16 or 17, and took a creative writing class at Penn State. I also had a teacher, in A.P. English class Senior year in High School, who got me interested in books. He made literature fun. One day, we came into class, and he read us stories in the dark, using a flashlight to illuminate his face. Another time he put the fans on and sprayed flour all over the room to get us to be more creative. He was very outside the box and that intrigued me. It was around the same time that I started writing, and, once I started, I've basically kept at it, until now, at age 42.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favorite authors are satirical and countercultural. Brett Easton Ellis, Denis Johnson, Nathanael West, Jonathan Swift etc. I was inspired by the essay "A Modest Proposal," by Jonathan Swift. This essay takes chances. Proposing, as if totally reasonable, that the poverty problem in Ireland should be solved by poor mothers selling their babies as food to aristocrats is funny and really provocative. Writing that challenges norms was always of great interest to me.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
It's a poetry collection titled "Feast of Sapphires." The goal was to be illuminating. I use my personal experiences and metaphorical and surreal imagery as a springboard. I also tried to evoke different responses from readers….such as laughter, sadness, acceptance etc. I know many people don't love poetry, because, among other things, it can be difficult to figure out what a poem means. But I think this book is straightforward enough to appeal to a wide range of audiences and I'd be thrilled if your readers would give my book a chance.
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