Eric Burke’s shares two poems in the February issue and tells J. Bradley about his beard, the Ramones and the work of his day job.
1. If you sheared your beard, would you lose all of your mad writing skills similar to Samson losing his strength after he lost his hair.
If I shaved my beard off, I would look like a 12 year old. But then, in irregular bits and patches, the hair would come back, and I would have to develop the discipline to shave it every day. This might actually improve my writing, since discipline is something I have trouble with.
2. What struggles do you face when writing short poems? Bonus if each sentence is a haiku.
Poor haiku. Always the butt of some bit of humor. I am attracted to haiku and enjoy reading it, but I have trouble writing viable haiku. I do not share the haiku ethos, and the English speaking haiku community, semi-laudably, mostly defines haiku in terms of conformance to this ethos rather than in terms of form. My biggest challenge in writing short poems is getting enough context in there to make the poem make sense to anyone other than me. I also suffer from the stare-at-my-palm-and-think-it-is-profound syndrome. So I too often send out poems that are not as interesting as I think they are. I need to develop more discernment and discipline.
3. Which Ramones song do you identify with the most? Why?
Who are the Ramones? With the exception of Neil Sedaka and The Monkeys, I grew up listening to musicals, classical music and folk music. (Though recently I watched 5 minutes of “Oklahoma”Â on AMC and had the same sick feeling I have watching reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard”Â). Nowadays I am mostly an opera buff.
4. What is your day job and how does it influence your writing?
I am a computer programmer. I don’t think there is any direct influence in terms of what my writing ends up being like, but programming probably first gave me the confidence that I could make stuff as opposed to being just a reader/audience for stuff.
5. What’s the one talent you wish you had and what would you give to have it?
The ability to make and play music. I would give one of my eyes for it