I spent most of my childhood and adolescence in Nicaragua, which is what I consider my homeland. Nicaragua has a sort of mysticism in its long list of active volcanoes and its chaotic political climate. Growing up there, I always felt compelled to write, even as a child, even when my writings weren’t any good; it was something that I felt like needed to do. I think most writers feel that way.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
I have lived in the US for over 15 years now. The greatest thing about my home is living so close to the ocean. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. I am also in a neighborhood that is socially and structurally diverse, with many older historic homes. I love historic homes, particularly those with weird quirks, I have a thing for subtle imperfection.
What turns you on creatively?
Composers such as Max Richter can be very thought-provoking, as well as stimulate very deep emotional responses. As we know, inspiration can be sparked by almost anything. Writing is also a healing process for me, at times liberating, at times painful. I think we all have the capability and or duty to tell our story.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
I have many favorites, in English, I enjoy the word: amalgamation, as in “her mind was an amalgamation of sound.” I also like words that invoke red or blood, as in “to write, to stop the insolent blood.” I have many poems that tell a story and refer to her as the protagonist, which is usually a reflection of myself: “If you find her, you may kindly dismember her, you may tell her that she is an ocean.” I have written verses that allude to Nicaraguan culture and that may include simple nouns inciting imagery such as:
There is a cardboard sky where the light, is the moon, looming intrusively, over a table of rice and corn.
What is your pet peeve?
I cannot stand writers that have a strong sense of superiority or that write with a vocabulary that is completely disconnected from readers. I think that writing, although not meant to please readers, should be more than just for ourselves. Poetry has a place in society, it is a beautiful art form, with the power to denounce, celebrate, speak to us all.
What defines Carmen Frech Oliveri?
This is a very complex question. I would say that I am always unraveling parts of myself to define and redefine who I am. I believe that writing allows me to be many versions of myself, which may otherwise be silent. I once wrote “Some of us are like mist, navigating empty spaces, flooded with sounds, impossible to contain.”
“My soul was a naked bird, over the trees, it smiled in silence.” I am happy to rejoin the world of poetry, after so many years of silence. We all know that a little bit of ourselves lives and breathes in every single written word. Thank you kindly for reading.