Vin Whitman is Alien Buddha’s Artist of the Month for September 2021

ABP- Thank you for taking this interview, Vin. This past spring, ABP had the privilege of publishing your poetry collection True Stories of the Odd Equinox. What can you tell us about what went into the creation of this book?

VW– A couple of years ago it became obvious the world was undergoing a massive cultural shift. There was a surge in left-wing ideologies becoming mainstream, and a strong pushback from the right. As the conversation about once taboo subjects like racial injustice, white privilege, and identity politics at large grew louder, I was drawn out of my own head to pay attention to what I understood to be a defining moment in history, especially for art, journalism and human rights. True Stories of the Odd Equinox was written at a time when I was reevaluating my own core truths under duress of a world that was changing faster than I could handle.

ABP– Are you working on anything new right now? Do you have anything else that you would like to promote?

VW- Gosh, I wish I was working on something new. This year has been crazy busy with everything but creative pursuits. I can’t remember how I found the time & energy to submit to Alien Buddha Press, but I’m glad I did. I have about 10 chapbooks that I can’t wait to work on again, plus I do art & comics when I can.

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

VW- Oh the hardest question…my favorite poets are Allen Ginsberg, e.e. cummings & Sylvia Plath. Not very original choices, but they were the luminaries of the mid-20th century when writing was more experimental than it has been lately. My favorite fiction writer at the moment is James Tiptree, Jr (who was really a woman named Alice Sheldon). And my favorite book is…either Lolita by Nabokov or Gravity’s Rainbow by Pynchon. Speaking of experimental writing of the mid-20th century. I guess I’m a sucker for that stuff.

ABP– What is the art/lit scene like in Sarasota FL?

VW- At times Sarasota has had a wildly thriving music, art & poetry scene. I partook in the music scene of the 90s, the art scene of the 00s and the poetry scene of the 10s. But at the time I left (3 weeks ago) it was hard to detect anything creative going on. That may have a lot to do with the pandemic though.

Now I am living in Jasper, Indiana and experiencing a little culture shock. There seems to be a small music/theater scene here. My partner & I talk about having poetry readings on our porch. Jasper is the kind of small town where something like that might work.

ABP- Would you share a poem with us?

Give me urchins
Over avatars

Mean girls over
Duplicitous trolls

Give me now
Over yesterday

But please don’t cut
Yesterday away
Like a cat’s whiskers

ABP- Thanks again for taking this interview, Vin. The floor is all yours. If there is anything that we did not cover here, please feel free to share.

VW- I just want to say thank you again for publishing my collection! It has been a great experience working with Alien Buddha Press.

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