Ari Whipple is ABP’s Featured Artist for March 2021

ABP– Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Ari. I want to start by talking about “Full of Now”, your poetry collection which came out at the very end of 2020. What can you tell us about the collection? What was the writing process like?

AW- Well, I spent the better part of two years writing it (from October 2018 to December 2020). I have a habit of writing about six poems a day, almost every day, but there were stints where I took breaks for mental health reasons. But, that’s what you see laid out in my collection: every joy and sorrow. Every painting break, every argument, every beautiful sunset. All laid out in print. It’s not always easy reading, but it’s worth it when you get to the end, like a life well lived.

ABP- Can you share one of the poems with us here?

AW- Memories

The memories

can’t hurt you now

but they

can keep you up

at night

They can steal the

words right out of your

mouth

They can make your life

a miserable daily montage

that plays over and over

until you

can’t take it anymore

They can’t hurt, but

they can certainly haunt

ABP- What is the art/lit scene like in Muskegon MI?

AW- I used to be more attached to the literary scene when I went to community college here in Muskegon and work on the literary magazine River Voices back in 2005 or so. I had some poetry go into that back in the day. The local community doesn’t do too much in as far as poetry, and it’s a shame. I want there to be more, but maybe it’s just my place to start a community of writers.

ABP- You have a youtube channel where you promote and read you work. How long have you been doing this? Do you like to make other types of YT vlogs? What is the link to the channel?

AW- I do, in fact, read poetry and do vlog updates on my youtube channel. It’s @strangenothings The channel has been going since 2009 as a vlog channel, and I’ve done things creatively with it since then. But, I’ve been heavy on the poetry for the last two years since I got back into writing again.

ABP- Who is your favorite writer? What is your favorite book?

AW- I think my favorite writer would be Charlotte Bronte, and my favorite book in recent memory is George Washington Black.


ABP- What do you have planned creatively for the rest of 2021?

AW- Well, I’m still chugging away, trying to write six poems a day, so my hope is that eventually it’ll turn into another chap book. Then, I want to take photos and make a coffee table book. I have a few ideas of what I’d like to do for that.

I plan on buying a film camera and trying to make a short picture this year, if I can get everything together. It’s about a short story I wrote a year ago called “The Abyss” about a woman who is stuck in her apartment and there may or may not be someone else there and the fear of not being believed as a woman by authorities.

Something needs to be done with my paintings, because I keep making them, and they keep piling up. Do I sell them, do I photograph them, do I put them on display? I don’t know, but I need to figure that out soon.

Also, finally, keep making YouTube videos. I’m hoping expand my creative talents, but we’ll see.

ABP- Thanks again for taking the time to be a part of this interview, Ari. If there is anything else that you would like to announce, promote, or share with our wordpress audience, please do

AW- I did a reading with Fletch Collect Virtual Open Mic Night. They’re on Facebook, look them up. They’re a pretty welcoming group.

I have a podcast with Donny Winter, my dear and good friend, on YouTube, called Restitching the Tapestry. We talk every Friday night at 8:30 pm about a new topic. We’re passing our 30th episode just recently.

I write for the LGBTQ+ blog, The Gay Agenda, I’m writing for under the World News desk. Check them out at Thegaygenda.com.


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