An interview with Charlie Brice

Name:  Charlie Brice          

Resident of:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

Place of birth:  Cheyenne, Wyoming USA

4 bums on a rugby goalpost!

Why do you write?–

I have an urge to make the invisible visible, to articulate in a poem something that celebrates complexity rather than a reduction to simplicity. When I was a psychoanalyst I often recommended poems to my patients because they could name the nameless feelings they were experiencing, feelings too complex for our reductive labels. It’s also true that I write because I enjoy it so much. It’s fun for me and I love every part of the process from rough draft, to revision, to submission.

What do you write about?–

Well, let’s see, I often write about being abused as a child by my drunken parents and the nuns they inflicted on me, but I also write about the beauty around me, what I’m grateful for: my lovely wife and courageous son. I love writing ekphrastic poems and also political poems.

When do you write? –  

I start my day by reading, poetry, novels, nonfiction, even just the newspaper. Then, after lunch, I write. I write every day which may include creating new poems, revisions, and/or submissions. I consider submitting my work part of my writing day.

Who do you read/ take inspiration from?  –  

I’m a voracious reader, but only a few poets inspire me to write poetry. I can hardly read five lines of Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, or Jim Harrison and not write a poem.  I get inspired by other poets, but they are the three I turn to when I need a prompt.

How do you write? –

I always carry a notebook and that’s where I start almost all of my poems. Only later do I transfer the written word to the computer.

THE QUICKFIRE ROUND

Your going to release your first Album, what would it be called?

The Kansas City Soul Association, which was the name of a soul band I was in fifty years ago.

You could be anything other than a writer, what would you be?

Well I was a psychoanalyst/psychotherapist for 35 years and all that time wanted to be a writer. Now I’m a writer and really don’t want to be anything else.

Why are manhole covers round?

This is such a terrific question! I just wrote a poem, “America,” which deals, in part, with Sir John Crapper who, along with the floating ballcock and the U bend plumbing trap, invented the manhole cover! Did you know that? Anyway, now you’ve got me wondering why he made it round. I’ll have to get back to you!

What would your autobiography be called?

Flashcuts Out of Chaos, which is the title of my first poetry collection.

You can claim one piece of art as your own work, what would it be and why?

“The Persistence of Memory,” by Salvador Dali, because it has inspired two poems of mine.

You’re on death row, what would your last meal be?

Spaghetti and meatballs.

What was the last piece of music you listened to?

Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto

When did you last go to a live sporting event, what was it?

It was a Pittsburgh Penguin hockey game.

If interviewed what would your pet say about you?

Actually, I have a poem about that, “Mugsi,” from my latest poetry collection, “An Acciednt of Blood” (WordTech Editions, 2019):

Mugsi

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson claims that we dogs
don’t have Oedipal Complexes, but when momma
naps, I sleep next to her on daddy’s side
of the bed. You don’t need to be a hot-
shot psychoanalyst to figure that one out.
 
He says we don’t have a concept of luck.
I know where my lucky-dog spot is.
I sit there, like a good dog, and
wait for my treat. My favorite is
fish skin, by the way.
 
Jeff insists that we don’t have taboos.
He wasn’t there the time daddy threw
the ball into the brambles where I do
my business. After a few sniffs, I left
that baby right where it landed.
 
It was fun to watch daddy dainty the ball
with thumb and middle finger and scrub
it in the sump sink. I wasn’t happy
with the soapy taste, but it was
better than the…you know.
 
And ole’ Jeff really missed the dinner bell
when he proclaimed we don’t have mealtimes.
I only eat when mommy and daddy do, and
never between meals. I regulate my diet
better than daddy, whose pudgy hand
 
rubs my tummy when I lie on my back,
paws up, waiting for his soft touch,
which puts the lie to another of Masson’s
myths: the crazy idea that we don’t
experience romantic love.

You can invent an App, what would it do?

Prevent me from using my cell phone for anything but making calls and getting directions.

Describe yellow to someone who is blind in 50 words

The sensation of warmth across your brow on a sunny day in spring.

You can also check out our review of Charlie’s book ‘An Accident of Blood’ by clicking here.

One thought on “An interview with Charlie Brice

  1. Charlie — I read the interview and it made me miss having lunch with you at Roast ‘n’ Toast. Very nicely done. It made me want to read the book, which is, I guess, the general idea of an interview. I hope you are well and that I get a chance to see you sometime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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