• Grant Handgis

INTERVIEW ~ Virginia Maria Romero

Interview ~Virginia Maria Romero

BCP; The first observation of your work is that you are both poet and artist. In that orderhere being this is a writer interview... In both mediums, your work visually and linguistically mirrors traditional sacred shamanic wisdoms and practices. What influenced your artwork and poetry?

VMR; The thing most important to consider when reading my poems is that although being influenced by the Native American culture, the primary inspiration for my artwork and poetry comes from growing up in the country in Ohio along the Vermilion River. My parents were avid outdoor enthusiasts who taught me the love of nature. I spent much time with my parents, and alone, in the woods along the river behind our home observing nature and wildlife. One distinct memory is sitting under a tree in the woods with my Father, and looking up through the foliage of the trees watching crows fly overhead through the trees as they “spoke” to each other, and I believed were speaking to me too. We would make crow calls by blowing gently through blades of grass held just so between our thumbs. One day as we “called” the crows and watched them fly overhead my Father said to me, “This is your church – and God is everywhere all around us.” My Father was Irish/Catholic with a profound love for the natural world, which was passed on to me. The attached poem, Nakashawu (a title I created to “describe” my painting and poem) is dedicated to my parent’s, Wild Bill and Wild Vic.

As an adult, I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and became aware that the people and stories I heard had similar parallels to my own experiences in connection with nature, and I had an immediate connection to the Native American culture. So instead of me being influenced by the Native American culture in regards to the natural world, what I felt was that they understood mine, and I felt a deep respect. It is this respect for nature, and my personal experiences, that influences my poetry and artwork. As an adult I did spend time observing Native American rituals and experiencing the influence that had on me, but the innate feelings that are reflected in my art and poetry are from my own experiences going back to childhood and continuing to this day (which includes the influence of observing Southwest and Native American culture).

BCP; As I noted in a recent post of your poem “Nakashawu” (Tribute to Wild Bill (2013-2001) and Wild Vic (2016-1998), your poetry conforms to free verse, or open verse, the rhythm and meter almost a Haiku, (without the formal format), with the simple form and sparse phrasing, leaving the reader to ponder the wisdom of each line. How do your poems come to you? What muse drives you?

VMR; My poems come to me in dreams, and also as a result of random thoughts or memories from my past or present experiences.

The muse that drives me is a “feeling” of how I fit into the universe, a feeling I’ve had since I was very young. I cannot exactly describe it or identify it with words. The more I try to describe the feeling the more it eludes being defined.

BCP; Your artwork mirrors your poetry, mirroring your artwork. Working in both mediums so effectively indicates that you “see” the sensorial world in two ways, and are able to artistically express yourself in both mediums well. How is your artwork connected to your poetry? Or are they mirrored artistic expressions for the same inspiration?

VMR; My poetry and artwork are mirrored artistic expressions for the same inspiration. I do not write poetry to fit or go with any particular work of my art, and I do not create artwork to go with my poetry. Both my poetry and paintings are inspired by the feeling that I have, created independently of each other, but eventually a particular poem seems to fit perfectly with a particular painting – at least from my perspective they do.

BCP; How do you define your work time between painting and writing? Does it come down to following the inspiration at hand?

VMR; Yes, I would say that by following the inspiration at hand accurately defines my work time between painting and writing. My writing and painting comes together as an evolution over time, and as I envision it has no beginning and no end but only points at which it comes together.

BCP; Do you read other poets, and are you influenced at all by their work?

VMR; I do not often read other poets works, and I am not influenced by their work when I do read them. I may be inspired by their work or feel connected with it, but I prefer to be influenced by my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

BCP; It has been my experience that most writers/poets would say they had a mentor which influenced their work. Someone they had read in their early years of writing, who struck a chord with them, in style, rhythm or theme, influencing them as they develop as writers, through imitation and exploration of their craft. Have you any personal mentor(s) which influence your writing or art?

VMR; In my lifetime I’ve had many personal mentors, real and imagined, and in many forms - including animals, plants, rocks, and all of nature. All have influenced me, and manifest as poetry and artwork as a form of expression which reflects my experiences, and also add purpose and meaning to my life.

BCP; Being you work in two mediums in an symbiotic manner, I would also like to include your artwork in future posts, beside the poetry in symbiosis with the art. Are you working on any art/poetry projects now that you would like highlight at this time?

VMR; Yes, I would like to have my artwork included in future posts, beside my poetry in symbiosis with my art. You are welcome to post any of my poetry/art that you have on hand.

I am not currently working on any art/poetry projects, but I am in the process of completing a large art commission that I’ve been working on for several months which needs to be completed by mid February.

BCP; I want to thank you for taking the time for this interview. It has been a pleasure to showcase your work, as a poet and an artist. Good energy to your future endeavors.

VMR; I want to likewise thank you, for taking the time to interview me and for your interest in my work. I enjoy seeing and reading your posts, and your interpretation of my work. Good energy to your future endeavors as well.

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g. Michael Handgis Photography


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