I am amazed at how much poetry is used in recent advertising campaigns: An online interview with Thomas Pelto

    Thomas Pelto: Poet, USA

Dupur Mitra: Do you think poetry play role in your society? If yes how and if not why?
Thomas Pelto: I am amazed at how much poetry is used in recent (*say 10yrs. or less) advertising campaigns… In print and on TV and radio, Budweiser, Pepsi and others have done it, and with success I believe, BECAUSE they are memorable. Yes I think poetry CAN play a role in society, but many more need to read it… There are lots of poets out there trying to get messages across, but they need to be read.

Dupur Mitra: Is illustration important in your poems?
Thomas Pelto: I try to make many of my poems (*especially those personal ones, meant for one person) sort of “word paintings” (a phrase I like to use).

Dupur Mitra: How does a poem begin for you – with an image an idea or a phrase?
Thomas Pelto: Most of my writing starts as a feeling about one subject or another. Then I’ll mutter a sentence or two about it to myself, or sometimes out loud, just in the moment. Then I pick all the rest of the single words I’d like to work into the piece, and it all sort of falls into place from there. Although I’ve had some instances where entire stanzas, or the whole poem just pops into my head all at once. Those are the ones I love best!

Dupur Mitra: Can you talk about the importance of sound in your poetry?
Thomas Pelto: Sound is very important, I don’t always have a rhyme scheme, but I always have a cadence built in. Rhythm is the main thing for me, probably because I also play drums.

Dupur Mitra: How do you edit your poems?
Thomas Pelto: Editing for me is really just a matter of changing some repeated words, finding synonyms and such, sometimes rearranging a line or two from where I originally wrote it, to some where else within the poem.

Dupur Mitra: Who are your major influences as a poet?
Thomas Pelto: Influences… Not really sure. I like many styles and writers. Beat poets, free verse masters like Neruda, and many classical poets like Poe, Yeats and Longfellow.

Dupur Mitra: What is poetry?
Thomas Pelto: No answer on “what is poetry?” except to say what it is to ME… Which is mostly my therapeutic release of pent up feelings.

Hope this is what you were looking for Mr. Mitra! Best I can do… Have a great day!


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