Interview with Ronaldo V. Wilson

Ronaldo V. Wilson, PhD, is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh, 2008), winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Prize, Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009), winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry and the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry in 2010.  His latest books are Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other (Counterpath Press, 2015), finalist for a Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry and Lucy 72 (1913 Press, 2017).

Ronaldo Wilson wraps up after the ‘From Lucy to Land, Mirinkai and Then’ performance on Sept. 15, 2016, at the LSU Digital Media Center Theater.

Co-founder of the Black Took Collective, Wilson is also a mixed media artist, dancer and performer. His Off the Dome: Rants, Raps, and Meditations, an online album, exists on The Conversant.  His short films “Grey,” “White,” “Blue,” “Red,” “Green,” “Brown,” “Pink,” “Black,” can also be found online at the Center for Art and Thought.

Wilson is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, serving on the core faculty of the Creative Critical PhD Program, and co-directing the Creative Writing Program.  He splits his time between Santa Cruz, CA and Long Island, New York.

Here’s a couple of my favorite tidbits from our interview at New Delta Review with Ronaldo V. Wilson this spring:

“As it is in the case of much of my work, the subject matter of what’s dreamed and what’s real is always at work within one another, existing at odd angles, collapsing, combining. Here, perhaps, it is amplified. In Father Traveler’s ‘Movie’ poems, I wanted to bring the reader (viewer) into the embattled zone between the speaker attempting to gather a sense of the father’s realization of the loss of memory, as he acquires his own sense-making of this encounter, all layering into their own travels.”

“Since I work, both directly and elliptically, around questions of self-fashioning, and the autobiographical self, particularly insofar as I constantly grapple with (and release into) questions of race, sexuality, desire, and power, it makes sense that I am resistant to thinking of my work and body as the form of commodity. Let freedom Ping—I am very much interested in making clear the routes between how the work I author is presented, and how it might be understood.”

“In a recent performance I did a hand spin, my wrist bent,
hands open, sprawling my desire to be less fat,
and when I was young, I was in motion, but on the stage, my spinning
Some of this is labored, some, I will use: the half spin, to gain speech—
I use one of my pages, just to see what it feels like to connect
to the audience that way. Ask them if I can listen to them breathe.
Tick, twerk: timing my breath to the beat out of the house sound—
I like to touch my face to my knees to make sure I am loose before the act.
& I do it in front of the audience to remain limber, and open to what might happen.”

Read our full interview here.