Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 Questions with Poet Mario Canto (@MarioTCanto)



This Author Spotlight features Los Angeles-based poet Mario Canto. Mario is the author of a book of poetry titled DANCING WITH DISILLUSION (see above) as well as a forthcoming novel. Mario is also an artist and graphic designer, a guitarist, and a vocalist.

1. How did you get into writing?

I first began in high school. I grew up poor so I couldn’t afford flowers for Valentine’s Day so I just wrote a poem to a young lady that I was interested in. I went to Los Angeles High School and on Valentine’s Day the guys would come with balloons and flowers for the girlfriends. I always felt bad. I just couldn’t afford it. My family was on welfare. We didn’t have anything of our own but dignity. The poem itself was simple… almost comical because it just said how beautiful I thought she was. But if you ask me, she seemed happier than the girls that received flowers when I read her the poem. I guess I felt like I was doing something right.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

I love its expression but, that is in all good art. Beautiful, ugly, immaculate, vulgar… this is real stuff. I guess I only hate writing when it’s sh*tty and doesn’t seem human. Why do art for the sake of impressing people? It should be about giving people an experience. Making them feel something. I can’t count how many open mike venues I have been to where I nearly fell asleep because of its lack of emotion. Give me something real!!! Please!!!!

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I write when I want. I never force myself otherwise it will all be garbage. Rules are for fools when one creates art. How many libraries have been filled with boring books that don’t even deserve the space they occupy? This is how toilet paper is made.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

Mario Canto, Mario Canto, and… Mario Canto. Love ’em 

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

I put them inside but who gives a damn! I know a few people that do care and I feel they need to get a hobby or even better, a life.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

I have no stance on it. Use it or don’t use it. It’s that simple. Who cares? But then again there is someone out there that does. Many poets don’t care for such rules. I am one of them.

7. What is your book DANCING WITH DISILLUSION about and how did it come to fruition?

It’s a book of poetry about the here and now. I am 23 and they say I am from the lost generation. The X generation. But I say we should be called the y/why-generation. Why don’t we have a shot at a real future? Seems like most people my age are living with family members, completely unable to do things on their own even if they have a 40-60 hour a week job. Most young people don’t have a job because there are no jobs. My book addresses our stance. My generation is frowned upon but we are the outcome of incompetent parents. Hell, most parents have royally failed and then have the gall to voice a barrage of negative opinions. My poems speak on these things. The book speaks on society, love, politics, and in general human sentiments. This book addresses the truth, in hopes of creating a more unified union of people regardless of age, color, culture, and gender. This poetry book encompasses true human elements that have the power to give people courage enough to love and respect one another. I just collected my poems and decided it was time to publish them.

8. What’s your current writing project?

I am working on a novel. I am in the editing process so it’s not even worth going into to much detail. Editing is a long process.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?

Everything and nothing. Young people and the babies mostly. I hope our elders will hear us out. I wrote my book as an attempt to reach both young and old audiences. So our future keeps me inspired part of the time.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

You can find Dancing With Disillusion on (samples too),, and a few others. I pop up at random venues in Los Angeles as well to do open mike spoken word. Sometimes I don’t plan it. That’s the kind of life I lead.

Thanks, Mario, for sharing your experience and your voice. 

Powerful poetry, folks. Purchase a copy of Dancing With Disillusion on Amazon. You'll be glad you did.

Be sure to follow Mario on Twitter as well:

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