Tuesday, February 16, 2021

TBR: Prometeo by C. Dale Young

TBR [to be read] is a semi-regular, invitation-only interview series with authors of newly released/forthcoming, interesting books who will tell us about their new work as well as offer tips on writing, stories about the publishing biz, and from time to time, a recipe!



We don’t expect an elevator pitch from a poet, but can you tell us about your work in 2-3 sentences?

Prometeo is a reckoning with history: personal; familial, and communal. It is my attempt to understand inheritance in its many forms. It was a way for me to explore how a person can carry the joys and sorrows of one’s family, even without realizing it at first.


What boundaries did you break in the writing of this book? Where does that sort of courage come from?

 It is not that I ever forbade myself to write personal poems, but I have always found strategies to reveal the personal while not being direct. In Prometeo, I stepped across that boundary. I chose to be direct. It was actually panic-inducing at first, but in the end I would never have been able to write this book had I done what I usually do while writing poems.


Tell us a bit about the highs and lows of your book’s road to publication.

Prometeo is my sixth book, my fifth poetry collection. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have an amazing and dedicated publisher, Four Way Books. I finished the manuscript, sent it to my editor Martha Rhodes, and then waited. She took it. I freaked out and immediately asked to push back publication one year. I am sure she laughed. I think she once told me I am the only author she has who asks for delays rather than moving up the pub date. But we have worked together for so long I almost think she expected me to ask for the delay.


What’s your favorite piece of writing advice?

"If you the writer aren't surprised by something you are working on, why would you expect a reader to be surprised?"


My favorite writing advice is “write until something surprises you.” What surprised you in the writing of this book?

As with each of my poetry collections, I wrote roughly a third of it before I had any sense whatsoever of what it was. So, almost three years into writing it, I realized the book was a way for me to reckon with my personal history. And so, the more I pressed the more the book evolved to include my family’s history and then history on a larger scale. I have always avoided “the personal” in my poetry collections, but despite the fact I was wrestling with history, what I produced is the most personal collection of poems I have ever written.


How did you find the title of your book?

One of the recurring images in the book is fire. And the title poem, an ode of sorts to the machete, points out how it is a product of fire but also an instrument that can be used to create fire. The machete is a kind of Prometheus. I titled the poem “Prometeo,” and as time passed, it became the title of the entire collection. For a long time, the book lived on my hard drive as Between the Dragon and the Phoenix, a title I will point out that also relates to fire.


Inquiring foodies and hungry book clubs want to know: Any food/s associated with your book? (Any recipes I might share?)

 The only food I can think of that makes an appearance in the book is in a poem where I show the influence of the Arabs on Europe by showing how they brought Sugar to the continent. I mention eating a Sicilian pastry filled with ricotta. The pastry is, of course, the Sicilian Cassatelle.

Here is a link to the recipe: https://www.mangiabedda.com/sicilian-cassatelle-ricotta/




READ MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK: https://fourwaybooks.com/site/c-dale-young/




READ A POEM FROM THIS BOOK, “Between the Dragon and the Phoenix”:





DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.