Published Poet Profile: Dan Hogan
Interview by: Amanda Riggle
Dan Hogan is a part-time English teacher at Cal State Fullerton, Irvine Valley College, and Norco College. In addition to being an amazing teacher, Dan has recently had his work published in Cal State Fullerton’s literary journal DASH – due out in May of 2013. His original haiku was about a double-parking incident and will be available for everyone to read once DASH releases their current issue. For more info on DASH, visit their website WWW.DashLiteraryJournal.Com. We had the pleasure to interview Dan via-email and below is what he had to say. He’s a smart man, talented man, so you should totally read this and be inspired.
The Poetics Project: Dan, what inspired you to write this piece? Did someone double park next to you and block you in?
Dan: I live at an apartment complex with two really narrow spots right next to the dumpster. I work so late that often those are the two spaces that are open. Most of the time, people with their gargantuan sport utility vehicles can’t fit in the spots, and it’s kind of an art to squeeze in there. But sometimes people just give up and park across both spots. Or worse, they park with one tire into the other spot making it impossible to park there. Such a pain. The nearest spot from there is about two hundred yards away, and at 1 am after grading all night at a coffee shop, it’s a real pain. So I wrote it one night because I always feel like writing notes and leaving them on the windshield, but this time I didn’t.
The Poetics Project: Why did you decide to do a haiku?
Dan: I thought it was funny. I loved the fact that adding the words “you’re a” to whatever the first line was only added those two syllables, so the whole thing was kind of a meta joke about something that annoyed me. It was a joke piece that I didn’t think much of. But otherwise I like the idea that the form is so concise that you can’t lose any points for creativity. There’s only one way to skin that cat.
The Poetics Project: Was this your first work published? If so, are you going to pursue being published again? If not, what else have you had published?
Dan: I have had a pedagogical piece published before, but this is the first creative work I’ve ever had published. I make a point to submit 1-3 pieces for publication every year just to keep me sharp. Usually I submit to my school’s journal because they do blind review (the editor in chief takes the names off of all the submissions and the rest of the editing team makes selections without any names). I do it for fun more than anything else because I’m always writing a piece or two in the back of my mind. I am looking forward to publishing again, but I doubt I’ll pursue it as more than a hobby. It’s kind of funny though – this was an afterthought. I poured my heart and soul into about a dozen pieces over the years, and this joke got published. Go figure.
The Poetics Project: Where was your work published? Where can the public get ahold of your work?
Dan: It’s published through Cal State Fullerton’s DASH literary journal. It will go on sale in May. It’s a cool journal because it is produced by a grad class every year at CSUF so that students can get a feel for publishing, being on committees, event planning, financing, etc. We advertise in poets and writers and usually sift through about 3,000 submissions every year. I love the blind review process the most. It takes the prestige factor out of it. It’s available at WWW.DashLiteraryJournal.Com.
The Poetics Project: What writing process do you go through when creating a work?
Dan: I typically write pieces based on something that matters to me. I often write them on themes I have experienced in my life. For instance, I had [a] semifinalist last year about a man trying to rewrite the story of his own life. It was a little long for the journal and was nixed (anonymously) at the very last minute, but it was a piece I was proud of. This one was based off my own frustration. I thought it would be funny, but also dig deep at a really annoying issue everybody has experienced.
The Poetics Project: What are some of your favorite writers? How have they inspired you?
Dan: William Faulkner and John Steinbeck are my favorite writers. What I love the most about them is that they have grandiose, sweeping allegory, but at the same time, they have little moments between characters, and various odd but profound symbols. I like the fact that they write about real people’s problems. I can’t stand hearing rich people complain about their woes. I think a little of Steinbeck’s snark is in this poem.
The Poetics Project: Fun question time! What is your favorite food? Would you write a poem about this food? Would you write a poem for us about that food?
Dan: In the words of the three stooges, “soitenly”
Latinos, Chinese, Italians and blacks
Have learned the secret of family meals.
White America doesn’t value food.
Perhaps they would value their elders more
If they took time to share dinner with those
Who have come before them and learned how to
Please even the strangest of family
Members with the soothing power of food.
But I eat plates of steak fajitas with
ice cold beer from my father-in-law.