Saturday, May 10, 2014

Poet Author Interview: Ruth Bavetta: Fugitive Pigments: Embers on the Stairs

Ruth Bavetta’s poems have been published in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Rhino, Poetry East, and Poetry New Zealand, among many other journals and are included in the anthologies Wait a Minute; I Have to Take off My Bra, FeastPirene’s Fountain Beverage Anthology, Forgetting Home, and Twelve Los Angeles Poets. She has published two books, Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press) and Embers on the Stairs (Moon Tide Press.) A third book, No Longer at this Address (Tebot Bach,) will appear in late 2014. She loves the light on November afternoons, the smell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.

Your real name and pen name?
     Ruth Bavetta is Ruth Bavetta. 

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
Playing in the surf and tidepools at Laguna Beach, California. Riding my horse on a moonlit night in the hills of Encino, California. Sitting under the fig tree with my nose in a book.
Ruth at Laguna gate
About your education
I have a BS in Geology/Paleontology from the University of Southern California, a BA in Fine Art from California State University San Bernardino, and an MFA in Painting from Claremont Graduate University.  

What career did you plan during your education days?
I was going to be a micropaleontologist, They were in demand in the oil industry in those days, but instead I got married and had children. Later, I went back to college for my degrees in Art. For a number of years I taught Studio Art and Art History at the college level and showed my work in a Los Angeles gallery.  About 20 years ago I started painting with words.

What languages you can speak and write? 
I’m only fluent in English, but if you dropped me in the middle of Italy, Norway, or any of the Spanish-speaking countries I wouldn’t starve to death.
The Making of History
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 
I don’t believe in waiting for inspiration. She’s a fickle tart.  Wait around for her and nothing gets done.  I just show up for work.

What hurts you most in this world?  

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why? 
What’s the point in doing that? You have to be who you are.

What is your favorite genre and why? 
I read mostly poetry and literary fiction. I write only poetry. I’m plot-impaired so no novels, no short stories.  What I do best is capture a moment.
In addition to conventional poems, I also create visual poems. In these hybrid pieces I combine my two loves, poetry and art. The idea is built on the poetry of “erasure,” eliminating words from a piece of prose to expose the poem within. I then work on the page with a variety of media, including inks, colored pencils, watercolors, metallic paint, collage and indelible markers.  You can see examples on my website:
When did you start writing?
I’ve always been a bookworm, but I didn’t start to write until  20 years ago, when I was 58.  

Which of your work has been published so far?
My poems have been published in over 60 literary journals and five anthologies.  I’ve published two books of poetry, Fugitive Pigments and Embers on the Stairs. A third, No Longer at This Address,  will come out in late 2014.

What are your forthcoming writings?
I’m always writing poetry.  When I feel I have enough poems that speak to each other well, I’ll put together another manuscript.

What four topmost things you take care of while writing a book? 
I’ve never set out to write a specific poetry book, but in putting together a MS I look for an over-arching theme.  The theme in my first book, Fugitive Pigments, is art, not surprising considering my background.  In Embers on the Stairs, it’s the landscape of Southern California, and in my coming book, No Longer at This Address, it’s my mother’s descent into dementia. After I gather together the theme poems, I then look for other poems that resonate with them.

How much real life goes into your writing? 
A great deal, although the reader should not assume that everything I say is true. Picasso said, “Art is a lie that tells the truth.”

Your dream destination on Earth?
My traveling days are over.  I’m happy to live at the beach with a view of the Pacific Ocean. What more could I want?

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born in Southern California and I’m still here.  I can’t imagine living anyplace else.  I’ve been to Mexico, Canada and Europe.  London was like visiting my grandmother, because of our common literature.  I loved visiting Italy, especially Sicily, where my father was born, and Norway, where my husband comes from.

Your favorite time of the day? 
Late afternoon in November, when the raking light turns the landscape to gold and the shadows are deep and mysterious.

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 
I don’t believe in that stuff.

Your favorite color and why?
When I was a child it was red. Now I can’t say I have a favorite. Each is magic in its own way.

Your favorite celebrity and why? 
I pay little attention to celebrities.

Your favorite food?
I like everything, but I’m partial to Mediterranean, especially Italian. 

A favorite quote
‘We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
———-T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Website: Go here for autographed copies of my books, or to buy original art or visual poems.

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