Wordsmith Interview – Domenic Scopa

Domenic Scopa

Age: 25

Location: Massachusetts & New Hampshire

Education: Suffolk University: B.S. in Philosophy and English; Vermont College of Fine Arts: M.F.A. in Poetry and Translation

The Writer

How long have you been writing?
7 years.

Do you have a specific writing style?
Personally, I think the concepts of “voice” and “style” are mercurial because they are constantly being influenced by my reading and scholarly interests. I always strive to alter my voice the second it seems concrete.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
So far, my greatest accomplishment has been signing the contract for my first book.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
My greatest battles are always with myself. I am the best critic of my work, but sometimes, it can be difficult to create the necessary distance to remain objective. Often, I rectify this conundrum by permitting the particular piece to rest in a drawer for an appropriate amount of time, usually a few months.

The Work

Tell us about your work in Crack the Spine.
“House of Light;” I don’t particularly like describing my work because a poem’s life cycle is incomplete until it reaches an audience; therefore, my description is monistic and trite in regards to readers. I would love to hear readers’ interpretations, though.

How long did it take you to complete “House of Light?”
I think I finished the framework for this piece in two weeks, but I am obsessive in regards to the editorial process, so the final version didn’t come to fruition for a couple of months.

Tell us about another project you have published or are currently working on.
I am currently copyediting the proof for my first collection of poetry, which is scheduled to be released sometime in July, 2018. It’s titled The Apathy of Clouds.

What inspired this work?
I think the primary inspiration for this work originates with a specific trauma that the speakers confront. The ramifications of that trauma, personal and familial, are also evinced.

Where/When can we find this work?
The collection will be published by FutureCycle Press

The Methods

How often do you write?
I am a Lecturer of English, so believe it or not, I find it extremely difficult to produce any work during the semesters, especially if I am reading students’ poetry. I usually scribble ideas in a journal during the semesters and try to produce poems during breaks.

Where do you write?
Usually, because of my schedule, I am the stereotypically “café writer,” but I don’t write drafts on a computer. I prefer handwriting my poems. Ideally, I would love to write in my apartment, listening to music on my record player. As you can see, I’m fairly cliché.

What time of day or night makes you most productive as a writer?
I prefer to write after 9:00PM.

How many drafts do you generally go through before you consider a piece to be complete?
I am never satisfied with a poem. I constantly edit and try to model my editorial process on Robert Lowell’s technique. I love to edit older poems even if they have been published. However, at some point, writers need to reach a state of relative contentment, so they can release their poems into the pasture to play. The pasture has fences, but the poems have plenty of room to roam around. Sometimes, over-editing can fence-in the pasture too much, and as a result, the poems suffocate.

How do you react to editorial rejections of your work?
When I first started to write, they hurt tremendously. Now, I don’t care; it’s never personal. I read for a nationally-renowned literary magazine, so I understand the editorial process much more intimately than I did. More often than not, the work does not fit the aesthetic of the issue. Never take rejection personally.

The Madness

What is your favorite book?
Infinite Jest

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer?
Crippling self-doubt

Who would play you in the film of your life?
George Clooney

What’s in that cup on your desk?
Black coffee

Rain or Sunshine?
Rain; I’m cliché.

Pen or Pencil?
Pencil

Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams?
Definitely, Tennessee Williams

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