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Getting literate with Alex Caldiero

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Sicilian-born, Brooklyn-raised Alex Caldiero is a poet/artist in residence at Utah Valley State College. His new CD of poetry and music with Theta Naught will be out the end of July.

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How would you describe the local literary scene?

nn

I think it is very much alive. There is a lot of tension here that may not be elsewhere. Political differences, the more traditional versus the more experimental, there are more contrasts here. That tension has always kept literature very much alive.

nn

You call yourself a sonosopher. Whats that?

nn

A sonosopher is to sounds what a philosopher is to ideas. I explore things, phenomena, in terms of sounds. Sound is more fundamental than seeing. It is not just about hearing. Hearing is the most superficial part of sound. Ultimately, it’s about touch. It’s about contact on every level, from subatomic to the more physical.

nn

Have you ever been censored for performing or publishing a poem?

nn

No. I’ve outraged some people, shocked some people, hopefully. I’ve done readings at BYU, at various colleges, for little kids, big kids. I performed [Allen Ginsberg’s] “Howl” at UVSC without altering a word because otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. If people don’t like it, they can boo. It’s wonderful to get up and boo if something is offensive to you. Tell ’em. Otherwise, walk away.

nn

What is the condition of our national soul?

nn

At the very heart is a deep wound. We need healing and we’re not getting it. Poetry is wanted here. What we’re getting instead is more materialism, more political talk. Go to a poem for the Fourth of July. Go to “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman and “Songs of Innocence” by William Blake. It’s a very ancient thing to do. Traditionally, we’ve always found comfort because poetry explains the unexplainable. It says the unsayable. It transcends all the contradictions.

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