Another voyage through the landscape of the American imagination, Baker touches the spirit of the reader on every level. This mini tour de force is a fun read that reaffirms the value of life. And like life itself, a garland of this sort must be experienced in order to be felt. A Garland of Blood and Dream is short and powerful verse at its quintessential best.
Spanning nearly two decades, this book is a collection of the best of the poetry and short fiction of D.R. Baker. From dark, visionary meanderings through the netherworld to everyday musings, Baker paints works that are at once inspiring, brutish, sparse, and lush. Baker’s voice is a clarion call with an electric chofar or a medieval yelp from an abstracted hell. He lets his reader fill in the blanks. Either way, no one can possibly leave the pages of this incendiary book without being transformed in some way.
Tell my fans a little bit about yourself and your book(s).
I have been writing poetry for nearly 30 years. I have written two books, American Supper & A Garland of Blood and Dream. American Supper is a collection culled from the last 20 years or so of poetry writing. A lot of the poems are autobiographical, but I love to deal with themes of eschatology, sexuality, patriotism, as well as more traditional themes — love, nature, and death.
How would you introduce your books to someone that has yet to read them?
Be prepared for a shock. My work is very different from traditional poetry, although I feel like I owe a lot to traditional poetry, and its forms. I like humor as well, and I have never found much of that aspect in contemporary poetry or otherwise. Just be prepared to have your mind blown.
What inspired you to start writing? What age did you start?
I do not remember ever sitting down and saying “I want to be a writer”. Reading (and writing) has always been a focus of my life. I think I grew rather serious about belles-lettres around the age of 17 or so.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
As clichéd as it may sound, I advise aspiring authors to pursue excellence in their craft, regardless of setbacks including rejection. Don’t worry too much, and don’t take yourself too seriously or anything too personally.
What’s your favorite scene/line from your works?
I have never given this much thought, but one of my favorite lines is from American Supper. “Longing to be amid/her stories in/Canvas, I speak/from her palette.”
What’s the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
The hardest thing about writing is starting. The easiest thing about writing is: there is no easy thing about writing for me!
What are you currently reading?
I just began reading a book that I have been wanting to read for a long time now — Angela’s Ashes–a memoir by Frank McCourt.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a collection of short, short fiction.
What books did you read as a child?
As a kid, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on–newspapers, comic books (especially Doctor Strange), novels, encyclopedias, and everything I could find in my dad’s library. I remember reading a lot of biographies about scientists such as Lavoisier, Dalton, and Einstein. I also remember reading a lot of George Orwell and Poe.
How has your life changed since you began writing?
It feels as if I have been writing forever. Since I have been able to make a couple of bucks from writing, it has given me a small sense of achievement and a feeling of contribution.
Do you listen to music while you write?
As a rule, I do not listen to music while I write. Sometimes, music is a distraction for me, especially since I play music (the guitar).
What’s been your favorite moment as an author?
My favorite moment as an author was when I walked into a bookstore, sold a couple of copies of my book to the owner, and she placed them right below books by Rumi. I love Rumi — and Sufi poetry in general — and I cried. I was so close to a Master.
Out of all of your characters, who is your favorite?
For a piece of short fiction, I created a seedy, greasy character who sells time slots to time travelers with enough money to buy a trip to a different year.
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
Ideally, I want readers to take away a sense of hope from my books.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What books do you take with you?
And there’s no Wi-Fi? Geez, what kind of island is that? Seriously, I take Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. It is a book that requires years and years of study.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself as a more market-savvy author.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
The Other Twin