He entered the room and we both snuggled down in our separate arm chairs, readying ourselves for this chat. I was so excited to hear the inner workings of this new writer’s mind, and to know what drove him to write the way he did because ever since I met him he had me so intrigued–from the very first three lines onward.
So, I began the interview by asking, “When did you get introduced to poetry, and how did that first piece make you feel?” He did not hesitate at all in his response and retorted, “My SL grandmother Angel Siabonne suggested that I do it, or rather make an attempt to after I started writing small pieces here and there.” I could see that he was one that was up for challenges and I was grateful for the challenge his very wise grandmother put him up to. This proved that he embarked was additionally the makings of a successful SL career….a career that enables the SL community to enjoy many of his work going forward.
Breaking me from my immediate train of thought, Cortes continued, “At first, I didn’t think I would be good enough until my grandmother told me to just go with my own flow and enjoy myself. The rest is history.”
Intrigued, I had to probe a little more, so I asked, “Can you elaborate and tell us what did she say or do to encourage you?”
Cortes answered, “She would say things that were motivational…reminding me that I had…and still have potential to do anything of which I put my mind to.”
I nodded, feeling that the question I posed had been completely answered. Then, I went on to my next question and asked, “Have you had any real life success in spoken word..any second life successes?”
In response, Cortes explained, “In terms of real life, I had minor success. To me, success is trying something new and not falling apart after I’ve done it….even if I thought I would fail….In real life, I read publicly for the first time at a bookstore called Cultural Center Tia Chucha. As for Second Life, any time I read and brave it on the mic that is a success…”
I had to know more, so I asked, “How does it feel when you read on mic here in SL? How did it feel when you read for the first time in RL?”
“Well, for me, I have come to the realization that reading work in RL versus SL are two very different situations….different in RL because there are real bodies in front of me. I find the human reaction…face to face…is euphoric. Don’t get me wrong…reading on SL is just as enjoyable…the claps or signs of enjoyment are always appreciated…I do, however, get a bigger high when reading in front of actual people…not pixels…”
Cortes continues: “I really get a euphoric high reading in front of a room full of latinos…MY people…People of MY blood…Like minded, educated…non-judgmental individuals…it was (and still is) surely something for me to see. (The last time I performed in RL,) they were absorbed in what I had to say….and I was afraid they wouldn’t like what I had to say. But, here is this Gringa Latina…about to open her mouth and let out some lyrical noise…and they embraced me. This was confirmed with whistles…The clapping…The lingual cat-calls of literary approval. I had never been so high in my life…other than during the birth of my children.”
Elated with Cortes’ response, I then asked, “What emotions do you convey in your poetry and why? What emotions do you want to express to your readers overall in your work?”
He begins by saying, ” Well now….Hmmmmm this isn’t a difficult question but I might have to go to church afterwards….but all jokes aside….My emotions range and vary depending on how I am feeling at the time about the piece that was previously written. I could be on the same emotional wave with my writing for weeks at a time…or have a hiccup and be thrusted into something lusty. One or two may make you cry. One or two may make you laugh or make the listener just smile and be content….”
Smiling generously, Cortes asserts, “I do have my favorites though….My favorites are politics and sex…and I would like for the readers to go away from my reading with nothing more than thinking ‘right on!'”.
I said, “Wow! Thank you for that response Cortes….Now, if you were to write a poem on your favorite subject how would you begin it?”
Cortez graciously responds, “If I were to write a poem on my favorite subject, I would probably begin by saying something along the lines of……’Sweet Jesus was all he could think of saying in his mind while combing over this honey bee that just came out of the hive..”
I wanted to know the spark of his inspiration so I asked, “What are the name of the poets that have inspired you? and what is your favorite poem written by a famous poet?” He kindly answered, “The most easiest response ever for me to give is Maya Angelou. I was in the 6th grade when my teacher at the time gave the class a reading list. It was then that my tween self first learned and read ‘I Know Why The Caged Birds Sings’…as for my favorite…hands down…is Maya Angelou’s ‘Phenomenal Woman’…”
I then asked Cortes, “What makes you a creative poet?”
Shaking his head a bit, Cortes says, “That is difficult for me to answer, so I’ll tell you from a personal level. I do not consider myself a poet. I do not even consider myself a writer. I just know what I feel and then allow the pencil to do the talking and the word play to do the rest…”
Content with Cortes’ answer, I moved on and I ask, “Well, in your opinion, what makes a poem a great poem?”
His response: “For me, what makes a poem a great poem is when I put that last period of a sentence on it…then I can sit back and tell myself, ‘Wow…If I can high five the lines of all the composition books I have read…write it, at the close of their spines, then I’ve done something correct….
And lastly, I ask Cortes, “Where can I find you reading your work on the SL grid?”
Nodding his head, and looking intently at me, Cortes says: “At the Lyrical…well, that was the very first venue I ever read at in SL…but I have also read a the Hole in the Wall, which is owned by Sucre Breeze, too….”
Cortés Gutierrez-Griffiths (micah.tiponi) has performed his poetry at various venues, including The Lyrical Cafe Poetry Club. The Hole in the Wall and the Spit Spoken Word Lounge. If you would like to contact Cortés Gutierrez-Griffiths (micah.tiponi) to perform his poetry at your event or venue, please look him up in Second Life or contact him via his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007951398453&fref=ts. Cortés Gutierrez-Griffiths (micah.tiponi) also has a blog, so be sure to check it out at http://secondlifethreads.weebly.com/!