A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Christian Garduno

Bio: Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 75 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.

with Christian Garduno:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Christian: I began writing creatively in middle school, before taking journalism as a course. My father had several Beatles music books (for voice/guitar/piano) and I would relentlessly thumb through them. Having not heard many of the actual songs yet nor being able to read music, I was intrigued by their rhymes infused with upswings of the melody on the sheet music. I found myself examining their rhyme schemes and dissecting their subject matter. It was very fascinating and informative to me at the time- as a unit, The Beatles were a great initial influence.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Christian: For nearly the past year, my biggest literary influence has been “Europe Central”, by William T. Vollmann. It’s a vast work, encompassing decades and the full sweep of modern history. But within this frame, he focuses on individuals- their ambitions, brutalities, betrayals, and sacrifices. It’s not a book that I can read lightly- after certain chapters, I have to put it down for a while. That’s when you know it’s a masterpiece.

Q3: Any pivotal moments when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Christian: Early in High School, my English teacher, Ms. Wynn, suggested I join the newspaper staff. I took a lot of care to make certain my first assigned story was well researched and factually correct. When I saw it as an above-the-fold cover story with my by-line, well, I was hooked. I knew me and print were made for each other. Thanks again for all your encouragement, Ms. Wynn!!!

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Christian: My friend T.H.D. was always helpful. He always took the time to read my creative work and encouraged me to continue. He was an artist in his own right- a painter- and always gave me advice in terms I could understand- about perspective, context, and character. For over 20 years, he received a copy of nearly every version of everything I wrote. It was a relief knowing that he would get it, read it, and send over some type of a reply. He definitely helped me reach deeper as a writer and for that, I’ll always be thankful.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & have any travels away from home influence your work?

Christian: I grew up in L.A. and I believe it has greatly influenced my work. Whenever you grow up with so much going on in a Metropolitan area, you’re bound to have multiple types of influences happening simultaneously. I drew early from the worlds of music, sports, movies, and the various cultures at large around me. In the summer of 2000, I traveled across Europe for five weeks. It was eye-opening to realize “normal” is only what you’re used to. Since it was before 9/11 and the European Union, it seems like a Europe locked away in another time. We didn’t have cell phones on our trip, it just wasn’t a thing yet. I researched for my thesis and generally enjoyed myself seeing the sights. I think it may be a long while before I am that carefree in that sense again. It’s a trip that crosses my mind every day and has only barely begun to seep into my current writing.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Christian: To date, my most meaningful work would be the long poem, “Southern Horses”. It was a piece I really wanted to stretch out and try something new for me- a type of travel piece across the Southern United States. I wrote recollections of places I had been to and researched various states and cities which I had yet to visit. Originally 6 or 7 pages, I narrowed it down to 3 for a contest on Southern Poetry in 2018. It didn’t win- in fact, I never even got a reply. I ended up reading the winning poem and became determined to re-work “Southern Horses” into fighting shape. I re-doubled my research efforts and went line-by-line, rendering down the piece over countless revisions. One evening, looking to cut out more lines, more words, more syllables, I got to the point where I simply could NOT do so. It was done, finished, and not to be altered. This version won the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. It is an award that brought to me personal validation as well as professional recognition, an award I will always be very proud of.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Christian: When I am not writing, I enjoy listening to music, curating playlists, perusing images on Pexels, BBQ-ing, brushing up on my design skills, sailing, and playing pool. I also like to hang back with my wonderful wife Nahemie and just watch something on TV. I enjoy introducing my young son Dylan to some of the finer things in life, such as Forensic Files and Bob Marley albums on vinyl.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Christian: I have always been partial to the ending verse of “Southern Horses”:

And it’s raining the way it did
in Florida when I was a kid-
eating Key Lime making a bee line for Mallory Square
audacious green sunsets flashing across the Tropic of Paradise
& we can hide ourselves away from all the rest,
dig in deep down at the Blind Pig Key West

Key Largo Duck Keys
Dry Tortugas- jump ship from here or you better skip back
we’re all stranded, along Duval Street, just like human driftwood

and every robin on its way
to Paraguay just like Hemingway

A setting sun staring through your eyes,
begging & daring to take you with it

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Christian:

For a long time, I believed I had lost all the writing I had put up on MySpace. When the site “updated”, Admin informed me that they were not transferring over my ‘notes’. So, they just vanished. Then, in the beginning of 2021, I found them- I found them all. Reading my own verse from 2006-2007, well, some made me smile, some made me cringe, and in some, I saw the spark at what I was trying to get at. I hammered them into shape and they are now available for purchase here:

Christian Garduno (gumroad.com)

Christian Garduno <p class=”MsoNormal”>Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 75 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams &amp; New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan. </p><p></p> app.gumroad.com

Christian Garduno usually sometimes writes here:

letsfly2000 – Medium

You can support the art he creates, curates, and shares here:


Christian Garduno is creating poetry, short stories, and design. (buymeacoffee.com)

Christian Garduno is creating poetry, short stories, and design. Love what you’re reading so far? Support with a coffee- a little encouragement goes a LOOOOONG way…Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 75 literary magazines…. www.buymeacoffee.com