Betrayed: An Exclusive Q&A With Rick Barot and Kaitlyn Greenidge

Posted Tue, 3/28/2017 - 8:00am by  |  Category:

Authors Rick Barot, Kaitlyn Greenidge and Anis Mojgani visit Hugo House on Friday, April 7, for the final installment in our 2016-2017 Literary Series. After a year of themes including exile, animals and theft, we turn to betrayal — an all too common feeling for readers and writers alike.

Have our night’s authors been betrayed? Yes. Read on for when and by whom (and in case you’re curious, it’s Mojgani’s booked schedule that keeps him from this Q&A).

Learn more about the April 7 event.

Rick BarotRick Barot

Q: Since the theme of your Lit Series is “betrayal” — have you ever felt betrayed by a favorite author or poet? Or, alternatively, by a character you created?

I think it was Emerson who pointed out that, eventually, ‘Every hero becomes a bore.’ I sometimes feel that about the writers I adore. Because they’ll write something that isn’t anywhere near as good as my favorite book of theirs. Or they’ll repeat themselves. Or they will seem to write from motives that aren’t about the deep obsessiveness that the best writing comes from. The devoted reader is always sensitive to all kinds of betrayals! I’m more interested in calling out the writers — and I’ll keep myself to poets here — who have never disappointed me, even in the course of their long careers: Louise Glück, Killarney Clary, Arthur Sze, to name just a quick handful.

Q: What, if anything, can you tell us about your Literary Series piece?

I’ve been working on a big poem that will be close to thirty pages when it’s done, with multiple sections. Among the themes the poem explores is the 300-year history of Spanish rule of the Philippines, which is where I was born.  So, it’s a poem about colonialism and its aftermaths. I hope to read some parts of the poem at Hugo House.

Q: What’s one piece of advice that keeps you going when the writing gets tough?

Walk away. At least for a little while. Unless you know you’re just being lazy, it’s sometimes a good idea to walk away from a recalcitrant bit of writing and go do other things. While you’re doing those other things, your mind is probably working on the problem.

Kaitlyn GreenidgeKaitlyn Greenidge

Q: Since the theme of your Lit Series is “betrayal” — have you ever felt betrayed by a favorite author or poet? Or, alternatively, by a character you created?

I’ve felt betrayed when a book peters out in an ending.

I love really great endings in novels, because they are so hard to pull off. Whenever a book just…stops…I feel a bit betrayed, especially if it is one I loved.

Q: What, if anything, can you tell us about your Literary Series piece?

Only that betrayal is one of the oldest emotions/situations in human life.

Q: What’s one piece of advice that keeps you going when the writing gets tough?

Have patience.