If you’ve ever been to a creative writing event at Clark, you know Bruno Lieto. He brings his huge smile and heartbreaking poetry to every open mic night. We chatted about his very first poem, stage fright, and the lost art of handwritten poetry in this month’s Clark Writer of the Month.
LB: Do you remember the very first poem you ever wrote?
BL: I do! It was in seventh grade. We were learning about the Holocaust and had to put ourselves in the shoes of someone that survived. We could write a paper, do a slideshow, and I chose to do three poems. The things my teacher said afterwards made me keep writing.
LB: One of my favorite things about you is that whenever I see you, you have like five new poems. Where does your inspiration come from?
BL: The majority of it comes from feelings. I never sit down and think, “I’m going to write a poem.” I’m always on the verge of sleeping, and then I start thinking, and things just come together. Most of it is spur of the moment, “Hey! This would make a good poem!”
LB: Are all of your poems spur-of-the-moment?
BL: Poetry for me is a constantly editing process. I write the whole thing down in one go, and then leave it. Then, I re-write it into another notebook. When I rewrite it, it’s a little different, and I do it again until I type it. When I type it, that’s the finished draft, but even than sometimes I go back and edit it.
LB: Why do you write your poems instead of typing?
BL: Most of my poems are about feelings, so writing it out conveys that more. Typing it out, it loses that individuality. If you type out a poem about heartbreak, you don’t have that emotion, but if you write it, you can see the little mistakes that you make when you write it, and it makes it more authentic.
LB: Do you ever get stage fright before performing?
BL: It’s not so much stage fright as just getting nervous. I don’t get up on stage and I can’t speak, it’s more like I get up there and I’m a little nervous. My poetry is very personal. It’s that initial nervousness about sharing something so personal to you. But once I get up there, I get comfortable.