ABP- Thank you for taking this interview, Bengt. Back in February of 2018 Alien Buddha Press had the privilege of releasing A Stab in The Dark, a compilation poetry and paintings. What can you tell us about that book, and how do you feel about the collection today?
BOB- That poetry suite I worked on for several years. It is very all encompassing and put forward many ideas and experiences I find important. Like most of my poetry it is loaded with images that in turn are loaded with meaning. It is also the only poetry book of mine, there are eleven, that also presents some of my art. This is important as I have been an artist and a poet for 50 years now. I still stand by both the poem and the art.
ABP- So, what is the art scene like in Västerhaninge Sweden?
BB- In Västerhaninge I have joined an artist community that owns a gallery and offers classes. But I spend most of my creative time in my big studio. I am a kind of recluse these days, for better and worse.
ABP- What are you working on right now?
BB- With my art I’ve just finished three canvases and am on my way with a rather big canvas. My poetry is moving very slow but since I have a lot of material there will be a new Welsh collection this summer and a new Swedish collection as well. Also I have translated “I missed Woodstock” the first part of my autobiography in verse to English. It will be published very soon in the US.
I am also preparing and working to make the third Beat Poetry Biennale Festival in Stockholm. Many US poets will come. It will take place in August.
ABP- Do you have any artistic plans for the rest of 2020?
BB- I sure do! I am aiming for a new exhibition this year. I have recently become an art teacher and that gives me a boost and new energy. This wheel shall explode!
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a visual artist, and as a poet?
BB- Well, so many artists through the history, from the cave artist in France to Picasso and forward, have inspired me. Asian art, especially Japanese, have given me much ground to stand on. Recently it is the late US artist Harvey Cropper that has played a major role in my development. He gave me what I needed, a place to be amongst the artist of this world. Btw, he was a very good friend of Charlie Parker and moved to Sweden in the 50-ties.
As a poet it is equally difficult to present a simple answer. In my early poetic days in jail in Istanbul I was very much influenced by Dylan Thomas, TS Elliot, Blake, Rabindranath Tagore, Mayakovski and all the Beat poets I came across. Later I found many of the Swedish poets like Harry Martinsson and Tomas Tranströmer and all South American poets like Neruda and Borges.
ABP- Thank you again for taking this interview Bengt. The floor is all yours. Do you have any art or writing you would like to share with our wordpress readers? How about any other shoutouts or announcements?
BB- Thanks for reading all the way to this point. I’m struggling with a failing mental state and an economy that drives me bananas, but whatever, I’m still here. Love you all!