Mix of Bizarre and Beautfiul

One of the common themes of my prose poems is isolation/existential angst. I try not to be sappy about it. Instead, I try to make the darker themes somewhat beautiful, whether through imagery or musicality. Being that I’m from Southern California, beach imagery is common in my work. I also mix in urban imagery. I’m interested in the sudden juxtaposition/contrasts of the isolated beach with a busy city.Tremmaglia

I have a series of prose poems, like this one, that begin with “A man woke up…” For example, “A man woke up on the surface of the moon…” Also, “A man woke up in a field of marigolds…” With this premise, I’m interested in the bizarre or dreamlike and trying to make it sound normal or even beautiful.

I wrote this poem, like most of my poems, at the public library. It’s quiet and there is free air-conditioning. Shout out to Cerritos Millennium Library, Norwalk Library, and LA County Public Library in general.

I’m not sure if I was listening to music when I wrote this piece, but I often listen to music when I read or write. Some favorites: Gary Clark Jr, Dave Douglas, Las Cafeteras, Matthew Shipp, Chicano Batman, and Kendrick Lamar.

This piece is part of my manuscript of poetry/prose poetry. I’ve been submitting it to competitions. So far, it’s been a finalist for the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, and a semifinalist for the 2018 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition.

Jose Hernandez Diaz

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He holds degrees in English and creative writing from the University of California, Berkeley, and Antioch University Los Angeles. His work appears in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Green Mountains Review, Huizache, New American Writing, Pleiades, The Progressive, Verse Daily, Witness, and elsewhere. He has served as an editor for Floricanto Press and Lunch Ticket.

Recent poems appear in Poetry Northwest, New Orleans Review, Vinyl, and Bennington Review. 

Illustrations by Anthony Tremmaglia. Anthony Tremmaglia is an Ottawa-based illustrator, artist, and educator. His clients include WIRED, Scientific American, Smart Money, HOW, and San Francisco Weekly.