"SPOTLIGHT ON" POET LIV MAMMONE

Liv Mammone. Photo by Cat Dwyer

Liv Mammone. Photo by Cat Dwyer

Who is Liv Mammone?

 

Wow, no pressure! Ah…she’s almost 26 and trying to navigate her life as a bisexual, disabled woman poet, editor, and someday-novelist. She’s a  constant teacher and student simultaneously. Her mind is hungry. Her current artistic medium is herself as she tries to learn how to love herself.

 

What honors have you received for your poetry?

 

My poetry has recently appeared in wordgathering, Wicked Banshee, The Medical Journal of Australia, and the anthology Grabbing the Apple. This time in my life has been about putting myself on the radar of authors I admire; of seeing myself as their peer. Their respect and knowledge is my greatest honor.

 

Niamh Hyland and Liv Mammone

Niamh Hyland and Liv Mammone

Why have you chosen poetry over other forms of writing such as short stories, memoir or novels?

 

Well, my first love is the novel. But when I went to get my MFA and had to choose a genre, I chose poetry and it was full steam ahead. I felt that I had more to learn about poetry. Now, I think it’s more that I have a lot to learn and poetry is my best teacher. If I’m honest, I just started watching poetry videos on YouTube and decided those were the coolest people alive and I wanted to be one of them. The leaps of language one can make really mirrors the way my brain finds connections. I also really believe in poetry as a way to bring people together. I’m also really protective of it because there’s this constant discourse around it being “dead.”

 

What is/are your favorite poems or works of literature?

 

No matter how much I read I’ll never feel ready to answer this. I recently read Michel Faber’s novel The Crimson Petal and the White again and it holds up as the book I want to write. The Great Gatsby is a cliche but that was my first experience with heightened language and it changed everything. I’m obsessed with Jane Austen. In poetry there’s Tara Hardy’s collection Bring Down the Chandeliers, Jeanann Verlee’s Racing Hummingbirds, and Angel Nafis’s Blackgirl Mansion; but there are so many. Whatever I’m reading is what’s absorbing me but those are the books I go back to.

 

Liv Mammone and Connie Roberts. Photo by Cat Dwyer

Liv Mammone and Connie Roberts. Photo by Cat Dwyer

Who are the poets/writers you admire?

Again, a tremendous number; Connie Roberts was my mentor at Hofstra and I wouldn’t be me without her. Before that, I got my training from the New York slam poetry scene–Jeanann Verlee, Marty McConnell, Rachel McKibbens, Taylor Mali, Megan Falley, and the like. As a child, my mother got me hooked on the 90’s singer songwriter movement–women like Paula Cole, Natalie Merchant, and Shawn Colvin. their lyrics taught me to listen to language and gave me a lot of the tools I use.

 

Who is your greatest inspiration and why?

Everyone in my family is going to be mad if I don’t say them! My father. It’s thanks to his hard work that I am able to do what I love. He taught me about ambition, the value of education, and pushes me to be better.

 

What are the top five things you’d like to accomplish in the next five years?

 

Competing in a slam, writing a song, starting a novel, compiling a poetry manuscript, moving out of my parents’ house.

 

Liv Mammone

Liv Mammone

If you could dream of trying something in the arts you haven’t tried, but would like to, what would that be?

 

I love to sing. I’d really want to incorporate that into my work. I am also obsessed with actors; I think they are the most talented people on earth. So I’d like to try that and join the elite.

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What was the best gift that someone gave you that inspired or facilitated an interest in your art?

 

I have gotten so much support from so many different people about what I do. I’m absolutely sure there are more talented people in this world, but they aren’t working because no one has given them that simple gift of saying, “What you have to say is important; I believe in you.” I’m incredibly lucky to have been told that my work matters and always try to pay that forward to artists who move me. It’s incredibly easy, but it means everything.

 

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