From the Heart of Madness: John Baltisberger

Angela—You’ve recently published The Configuration Discordant with Things in the Well. Such an interesting name… what does it mean to you and what inspired this collection? (find it on Amazon here)

John B.—The collection focuses on various poetic forms, exploring all the rules we’ve sort of agreed upon over the last few centuries. While I was trying to choose a name, I wanted to focus on the idea that what I was playing with was form and configuration. That is the gimmick of the collection, almost every poem is a different form of poem.

But within each section there are different themes, different pieces of flash fiction all pointing towards a common goal of fear and discomfort. In the end I wanted a title that played with juxtaposition. That hinted at the tight rules I played with, and the discordant and jumbled mess I organized with it.

Angela—Tell me about yourself as a writer. Do you consider yourself a poet, proser or a blend of the two?

John B.—I’m a blend, absolutely, I spend the most time writing prose, but I write far more poems than I do stories. That’s partially because I love writing flash. A self contained story in as few words as possible is a challenge that I find intoxicating. There’s a book called Sharp Teeth I mention it in the afterword of the Configuration Discordant. Where the author tells an entire novel about werewolves in verse. And I love it, I’ve become fairly obsessed with the idea of creating that sort of novel, so…I suppose stay ready for that.

John Baltisberger

Angela—If you could be any monster, what would it be and why?

John B.—This is hard for me, I have a podcast called Wandering Monster, where we talk about our favorite monsters every single week. Is it too on brand to say Godzilla’s nemesis Biollante? For those of you who don’t know Biollante is a rose bush who has been injected with Godzilla DNA and possessed by a ghost. And it fights Godzilla. But Biollante is definitely a protector of mankind. Powerful, feral, but also plant and a guardian of this earth.

Angela—Imposter Syndrome really stood out for me. I think all of us have entertained dark fantasies like that. What’s the story behind the poem?

John B.—Well, I had just read an interview with a self proclaimed sociopath, and I had been reading up on serial killers. My mentor Devorah Winegarten (z”l) once told me that a good poem surprises you. She normally used it for the positive, a twist that would make you laugh or leave you hopeful. But as a horror writer, I can’t do that, I want people to identify with a poem at first, and then be left cold and uncertain either about their safety or even their own identity. Is one of your friends and impostor? Are you?

Angela— We may never know 😈 but back to the interview… What kind of horror do you prefer? Are you a slasher fan or more of a psychological thriller man?

John B.—I am very well known for being a kaiju fanatic. I love giant monsters. But I also adore slashers, and smart horror. When I say smart, I mean I want to be guessing the entire time what’s really going on. Gore and violence can be fun, but in the end their sort of substance-less to me.

However, what I write is very much geared towards action and things happening, I don’t tend to live in my character’s heads too closely.

Angela—Describe your perfect day writing… where would you be, who with and what would you create?

John B.—I would be alone in a place without wifi, with my music library and headphones. Probably a cafe so I can eat and drink. I distract easily so I need to limit that. But I am currently working on several Jewish horror pieces, Jewish Horror Poetry, Jewish Urban Horror and Jewish Kaiju Horror.

Angela—This far in your career, what do you wish you’d done differently?

John B.—I wish I had started sooner. I also want to tell people a very simple piece of advice. Just do the thing, dither about waiting to do research of sketching it out. The more time you spend not writing the more time you aren’t being a writer.

Angela—What are you working on next and where can we find you and your work?

John B.—So, you can join our patreon at Patreon.com/mhp_horror, you can catch me on my podcasts Wandering Monster or Madness Heart Radio, or you can also find my books on Amazon. Thank you!

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
This entry was posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #PeopleCollection, #Poetry, #ReadLocal. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *