The Sioux Falls poetry scene continues to grow, and one of my favorite local poets has put his work into a Chapbook.

Here is a quick Q n A with Xavier Pastrono.

When did you start writing poetry?

I started writing poetry in High School.  I initially got started with song writing and that kind of opened the door to poetry for me. However, it wasn’t until college that I started to take it more seriously and work on my craft.

For anyone who hasn’t experienced your work yet how would you describe it?

I think it’s a combination of Imagism and Spoken Word. I tend to zoom in on a moment, thought, or scene and exploit it through vivid imagery to emphasize it. Additionally, I utilize the sound of words (assonance, consonance, alliteration, etc...) both as a way to emphasize the point of the poem and to give it unique, aural characteristics.

For someone who isn’t familiar with a chap book how would you describe one?

A chapbook is a small collection of poetry (usually 15 to 30 pages in length) and is fairly simple looking in it’s assembly (card stock cover and folded pages that are bound in thread). In many cases, the poems in a chapbook revolve around a certain theme.

What’s the name and meaning of the name of you chap book?

The title of my chapbook is Thirty, which is represented by the Roman Numeral on the cover, “XXX.” The poems cover many of the personal struggles, thoughts, and realizations that I experienced since turning thirty (I’m currently 32).

When did you start writing the book and why did you decide to write one?

I started writing and compiling poems for this chapbook about two years ago. I’ve wanted to make a chapbook for awhile, but at the time, I didn’t really have the intention of putting these poems into a chapbook because they were personal and more of a cathartic outlet for me to express how I was feeling at the time. However, I eventually became more comfortable with the idea and more vocal in my advocacy of mental health, equal rights, race, etc... so I decided to give it a go and put them into a chapbook.

Is there a topic or theme to your poems in this chapbook?

The overall theme is personal experiences in my thirties and topics covered include race/racism, identity, fatherhood, societal constructs, de-conversion, and social media just to name a few.

What poets or writers do you enjoy?

Saul Williams has been the biggest influence for me. I also really enjoy Eve L. Ewing, Sylvia Plath, Claude McKay, and local poet Kevin Caraway.

If you could have a meal with 3 writers living or dead who are you eating with?

Dang! This is a great question. Hmmm  I’d pick Saul Williams, Margaret Atwood, and Albert Camus.

Do you have any advice for anyone who has a book inside them they would like to write?

What did it for me was this; this life we’re experiencing is it. As much as we’d like to believe we’re guaranteed an extensive future, we’re not, so if there are things that we want to accomplish in our lives, we need to stop putting them on the back burner. We need a little less, “Maybe later” and a little more, “Why not now?” So, my advice to that writer, that artist, that individual who has something creative burning inside of them, is why not now? Make the time and live out your dream.

Where is the chapbook available to purchase?

My chapbook will be available for purchase at the release party at Downtown Coffea on Friday, July 13th at 7:00pm. If there are any left over (I only made 50 copies), they will be available for sale at both Last Stop CD Shop locations.

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