I was born in Tallahassee, Florida, but I anticipate a move soon. While Tallahassee is not my ideal city, it will always be my “home.”
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I would say because it is a college town, the amount of diversity is superb. In addition, the National Recreation and Park Association voted Tallahassee as having the best parks in America.
Tallahassee is not diverse in only the sense of population, but the urban sprawl spreads the city about in such a way that each area seems as if it is a town in its own right.
The city has both Florida State University and FAMU, one of the largest historically black colleges. Much of Tallahassee caters to the college crowd, but some areas cater to different demographics. Frenchtown is one of these.
In line with my contrarian personality, Frenchtown is one of my favorite communities in Tallahassee. It is a historically black community with a tight-knit network of residents that have lived there all of their lives! Driving through, you can see many residents congregating on the street corners. I surmise that I like it because I yearn for the sense of connectedness they have. Perhaps we all want connection.
Sharing weakens the burdens of life.
What turns you on creatively?
By and far, life experiences. In paroxysms of inspiration, I wrote my first two poems Tomorrow’s Moon and The Girl in 137 in my small journal. I don’t recall why I chose to write in poetic form – perhaps because I lack the patience to work through a novel – but I did. Personally, my writing is typically the best when it flows naturally without the need for much revision. There is a certain authenticity to these poems. An experience only happens once, so by the time revising comes around you are working off the memory of an experience. Memories become distorted for multitudinous reasons.
I read ‘Tomorrow’s Moon’ to someone, and they said it reminded them of Sylvia Plath “before she went crazy.” Of course, that is a callous observation, but I never thought of turning painful experiences into art.
I bought the complete works of both Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath: I was thrilled to see how they used intense suffering as a catalyst for poems. Confessionalism has been highly influential to me.
Moments of misery are the secrets we all share, but – as I said earlier – they wither when shared.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
My favorite word is “melancholy.” The “Melancholic Personality” is one of the Four Temperaments – an antiquated psychological personality inventory.
“Melancholia is the thickest veil, that smothers in the darkest hours.”
What is your pet peeve?
Any thought that begins with “I.”
What defines Alexander Wolff?
That depends on what person you ask! Buddhism and music shaped my personality. Meditation and music practice require a tremendous amount of dedication and tenacity, so coming to these practices at 12 has given me skills that I can transfer to other areas in life.