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Chapbook Q&A with Chance Castro // If My Air is Touching You

Read Chance Castro’s chapbook If My Air is Touching You

What is poetry?


To me, poetry is in a lot of ways just attention. Out of that attention is often an outburst of energy and emotion, or an attempt to reconcile or understand something I’ve witnessed or experienced and that’s how a poem at least generally begins for me. From there, I don’t know that I can answer this question with any conviction because poetry can also be vast and immeasurable—something we attempt to put our best toward while also never acknowledging that there is a “best” within us.


Why do you write it?


I write poetry because I feel that through it I am granted a nearness to the world which I find to be so alive and pulsating and marvelous. And since I am always seeking to be closer to life, poetry tends to satisfy that appetite within me. Sometimes I am close to beauty and human kindness and this is exciting. Other times I am near deep pain and loss, but regardless of the emotional associations I make, I find value in the deeper understanding I have with what I study or read or write. I am closer to the author for it and, sometimes, the author is myself.


What makes this a chapbook & not just a pile of poems?



This chapbook specifically is born out of super-related content with something of a narrative structure, and written in a similar process (by obsessively listening to a song/playlist of songs on repeat until each poem was finished). I sort of understand the speaker to be in search of a kind of love or closeness to his mother and he keeps trying to reconcile his understanding of love and what’s missing from this version of it in surprising ways. I don’t think that the whole idea could be complete if any particular piece were missing. I guess a short way of answering this question is that the poems are more impactful together.



Are there any particular pronounced influences / guiding lights for the poems in this chapbook, or is it just the usual jumble & tangle (also, if so: what IS your usual jumble & tangle)? 

 While writing this collection I was obsessively reading Roger Reeves, Chiwan Choi and especially Ocean Vuong. Not that I want to compare this collection to the work of those writers, but brilliant work always sparks energy in me to create something, and those three are pretty damn brilliant. Also, I had a playlist of music that I played on repeat during the creation of this chapbook and I owe credit to the artists on there. I’d say if I had some regular jumble and tangle of what guides my work, it’s usually a blend of obsessively listening to music, reading poetry and laboring through my own loneliness.


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