Posted by: tsopr | January 9, 2008

Interview with John Heck

American poet John Heck, the First Prize winner of November 1, 2007 Poetrysoup International Free Poetry Contest was born and raised in  Brooklyn, NY. He loves to write. Indeed, he’s a brilliant master of word and the kind-hearted god of soup whisperers, at www.poetrysoup.com  where he’s an active community builder. At present, he’s working with a high profile entertainment conglomerate in NYC developing marketing strategies for children’s programming and research.

The Interview:

Legend: TSOPR = The Sound Of Poetry Review
JH = John Heck

1. TSOPR: Why do you write poetry? And what is poetry to you?

JH: I love to write. Writing is a form of relaxation to me. Poetry is a wonderful medium. It allows one to express their emotions and thoughts in the guise of an art form. Poetry can also be mysterious to a certain extent. Does the reader interpret your words as fact or is the poet’s write purely fiction?

2. TSOPR: Being a poet, d’you have any favorite poetic form and theme in writing your poetry?

JH: No. I usually write in the free verse form but enjoy stimulating my poetic range by investigating all types of poetic styles.

3. TSOPR: What’s your favorite poem(s)/poetry book(s)? Your favorite Poet(s)?

JH: Difficult question. If I had to choose two of my favorite poets they would be Anne Sexton and Ogden Nash. How’s that for diversity? My favorite collection of poetry is Anne Sexton’s “The Book of Folly”. My favorite poem, however, is “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath.

4. TSOPR: Would you recommend that people, especially the young ones, should read and write  poetry? Why?

JH: Yes and No. I wouldn’t force young children to write or read poetry if that’s not their penchant or calling – but I certainly would try to highly encourage it! I believe reading, in general and on any level, is important to anyone growing up. It’s essential to their education and knowledge.

5. TSOPR: Please, tell us your feelings on winning the November 1, 2007 Poetrysoup International Free Poetry Contest?

JH: Very honored.

6. TSOPR: Were you expecting to win the contest? In your opinion, what the PS Judge(s) saw in your poetry?

JH: I believe anyone who enters a contest would like to see their achievements rewarded. The poems entered in Poetry Soup’s November 2007 contest were stunning. What the judges saw, in my poem, is a mystery to me. Poetry is a varied commodity. A melting pot of different emotions, subjects and styles. Poetry is written to stimulate a reaction within the reader; whether it be internal or external. I wanted my poem to be a combination of both. I wanted the reader to see the imagery and digest the emotions of my main character.

7. TSOPR: What motivated/inspired you to write your winning art “Purple Heart”?

JH: My Dad and a photograph.

8. TSOPR: What makes “Purple Heart” so special?

JH: My father was a Marine Corp. soldier during the Korean War. Twenty five years after the battle had ended my father still recalled horrifying images. One of his buddies died in his arms. A war picture I came across in Time magazine, along with my father’s recollections, triggered the poem.

9. TSOPR: And what makes a poem/poet/poetry book popular?

JH: I’m not sure if there is a definitive answer to that. I, myself, like all styles of poetry. I anticipate diversity and range from a poet. A poet who can make me cry with one poem – laugh with the next and force me to ponder the third -shows me this writer embodies scope, depth and versatility.

10. TSOPR: Are you planning to publish your own poetry book(s)?

JH: Yes. I’m still unsure of the title at this point.

11. TSOPR: There’s a saying that there is no money in poetry, is this true?

JH: I don’t know. I’m not writing for the money. I’m writing for personal enjoyment.

12. TSOPR: What are your other plans right now after winning the PS contest?

JH: Going to Disneyland! Only kidding. I would like to continue my writing endeavors and broaden my knowledge of poetry. I am presently working with a friend on developing a musical comedy. I’m writing the lyrics and both my friend and I are penning the score.

13. TSOPR: Running your own free poetry contest and as a poetry judge what d’you seek in a poem?

JH: Believability. The poem and its subject matter must strike an emotional chord with me.

14. TSOPR: For the readers of this blog/ezine, who is John Heck to you? Please, tell us about yourself, your mission/primary goal in life, as a poet/writer?

JH: My primary goal in life is just being happy. I never intended to write and be recognized. One of my friends who is a successful poet stumbled upon my poems accidentally. He encouraged me to forward my work to publishers. I’m presently working with a high profile entertainment conglomerate in NYC developing marketing strategies for children’s programming and research. One of the company’s executives in their PR department is reviewing a story- boarded draft of a cartoon sketch I presented them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Aside from that, John Heck is just a down-to-earth guy, who enjoys the company of family, friends and loved ones.

15. TSOPR: Thank you Sir John, for your time and great blessings to you for 2008!

JH: Thank you, Mr. Santiago for welcoming me and I wish you continued success with TSOPR and all your future creative endeavors. I am honored to have the opportunity to know you as both a brilliant poet and friend. May 2008 bring you an abundance of happiness and prosperity!

Here’s John Heck’s Winning Poem:

Purple Heart

Morning glowed, Phillip.
A purple fire
burned beacon bright
against the stench of napalm.

A thick thistle
two feet from your head
wordless in speech,
watched with dark misfortune
curving letters of prayer
above your bleeding valor.

A crumpled martyr
lying there,
innocent as a schoolboy
amidst the blare of gunfire –
asleep in our country’s eyes
dormant in the arms
of an adopted comrade.

I held you – lost brother
tucked inside my soul;
nineteen and breathless.

The tears inside
my empty lungs
spilled so softly
onto your forehead
as I knelt in the center
of August’s cancerous garden;
staring at the mud stained badge
nestled peacefully
above your silenced heart.

I slowly ingested
and tasted your
bullet-ridden honor,
as I was viscerally blinded
by the sickening,
piercing strobes
of a delicate
mourning’s

glow.

Copyright © 2007 John Heck

More of his works can be found here:
http://www.poetrysoup.com/blog/index.asp?PoetId=1934

Interviewed Online by TSOPR Editor, Wed, 26 Dec 2007 03:05:35 -0800 (PST)

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Responses

  1. The interview with John Heck is very impressive. He is a rare poet who wears his heart on his sleeve, not only with his poetry, but with his comments to others as well. Due to his love of poetry he has the ability to hold you close with his chosen words expressed with his free verse style of poetry. Reading him is a comfort, knowing him is a joy. This interview is a special event, indeed, for it gives the world a moment to learn and know the inner being of a very special person named John Heck. Your friend in poetry, Rhoda Galgiani

  2. Thanks for the insights on this prizewinners favorite poets. I’ve made note of your post on Blogden Nash where I catalogue the reach and influence of Ogden Nash on contemporary life.

    Cheers!

    John

  3. Thank you John Brady, for your note of my post “Interview with John Heck” on Blogden Nash.

    Best Regards,

    Ernesto


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