Manfred Chobot responde a Bonifacio
1. Do you have something against the ocean?
Not at least I have something against the ocean, as a windsurfer I love the ocean, and it is wonderful sitting on the shore and watching the waves rolling in. Making you content and calm – and the world is totally in balance.
2. What parts of the planet Earth do you think poetry trees could be planted on?
because the people there love poems more than everywhere and from the poetry
trees they could harvest much poetry.
3. Is solitude the beginning or end of everything in existence?
It is the base of human existence.
4. Which would you prefer: to be a good writer, but utterly miserable, or a happy, mediocre writer?
I would prefer to be utterly miserable. The best solution would be to get into a contract with the Devil like Faust did.
5. Is madness the basic ingredient of true genius?
I am afraid it is, and not only madness, it is necessary to be and to act like an asshole.
6. Sincerely, what do you think of the people around you who aren´t writers or involved in any artistic activities whatsoever?
It depends on the people; some of them are very nice, others are funny, intelligent or curious. I don’t like dumb, stupid and dull people, and in particular fascists and nationalists.
7. Were you telling the truth when you lied, or did you mean what you said when you lied?
I believe that I never lie – but this is a lie.
8. Who or what is it that you can´t stand?
Soldiers and all these folks who are involved into these things like war. I can’t stand this euphemism when ministers of war call themselves ministers or secretaries of defense.
9. What is your biggest phobia or fear; your biggest pleasure or passion?
A fear is to drown or to be burnt. My passion is to smoke Cuban cigars.
10. If someone told you they didn´t really like your literary works, regardless of the genre they were referring to, even if lots of people say they love it; how would you feel and what would you say?
In former days I tried to be loved by everyone and especially my literary works to be liked. By now I got the realistic view that this is goal far behind to be reached. If someone does not like my literary works it is his/her problem not mine. “Allen recht getan ist eine Kunst, die niemand kann.”
11. Do you have any opinions regarding politicians or politics in your country?
The politicians in my country are as corrupt as one can imagine. They use to say that people lost interest in politics but that’s not true – they lost the interest in these corrupt politicians. In former days was the goal of Austrian politicians to serve the country and the welfare – now their goal and attempt is to get as much money in their pockets as possible.
12. Why haven’t you read all the books sitting at your house? Do you periodically prune your collection down?
I haven’t read all of the books in my library because of lack of time but I am in the good mood to do so once a day, and I have learnt to stop reading a book if it starts boring me. The only exception is when I have to write a critic on this book. I don’t prune my collection because the burning of books of the Nazis is always alive in my mind, and I am in the good situation having enough space for keeping them.
13. Do you think you´ve written the book you wanted to write?
Yes, mostly I did so. The attempt to write a novel of four hundred pages I have cancelled in time, and I don’t feel that it is necessary for me to do so. Many of distinguished writers and poets which I admire never wrote a novel. I published two novels of two hundred pages each, and that is enough of size.
14. Given the above, why continue writing if you already said what you had to say the way you wanted to say it? Why keep using words?
I have said quite a lot but there is much more to be said. Writing is a never ending story, a special kind of “perpetuum mobile” – and if there is nothing left to be said, if the fountain of ideas has fallen dry than it is no problem for me and the rest of the world. At this time I can start reading all the books I have not read yet.
15. Nightstand books? Coffee table? Jitney van/Bus reading? Subway? Books to read on the toilet?
When I was younger I always and everywhere have been reading. Nowadays I need goggles to read so I stopped reading e.g. in the subway.
16. What would happen if there was no such thing as oysters or Malbec grapes?
I don’t like to eat oysters! But if these things would not exist any longer than there would other things like them exist.
17. If you were not a human being, what tangible or abstract thing/concept would you be?
A book ready for the Nobel Prize.
18. Have you ever loved or hated more than you should have?
I never have hated, I was angry – too much loved I have some girls, and finding out that it was a mistake caused always much pain in my brain; but poetry always was helpfully.
19. Do you think the world would be a d
ifferent place if there was no such thing as poetry?
I don’t think that it is possible that poetry would not exist because it is everywhere around even if we don’t realize that it is here and in the air.
20. Which do you prefer: the poet, or his/her poetry?
Of course the poetry because a lot of poets I never got the possibility to get to know although I am very glad to know some biographical details of a poet.
21. Do artists, as they are want to believe, suffer and enjoy more intensely than other mortals?
Possibly - but I don’t know because never ever I got the chance to slip into another mortal’s body or into his brain. But anyway some people suffer quite a lot and never wrote a poem.
22. Any issues with suicide?
More or less never; but after 9/11 I discussed with my girlfriend of this period what to do if you are trapped into a skyscraper like the Twin Towers better to jump out of the window or being burnt. – Which means if there is any hope left to make it through or to stop hoping that there will be help or any possibility to find a way out of a disaster like this.
23. How much of the image you think you project to others do you think is true about yourself?
I hope that it will be approximately 80 percent or even more.
24. What has been your most persistent déjà vu experience?
That there is nothing new concerning the emotions of mankind and idiots never vanish or extinct.
25. If you found out the world were to end at midnight tonight, what exactly would you do?
Open a bottle of very good wine and starting to smoke my very best and longest cigar like the Montecristo No. A, and maybe listening to some music like Bob Dylan or classic like Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky or the Piano Concerto No. 4 by Beethoven. Reading poetry??
MANFRED CHOBOT, poeta austríaco