Monday, July 28, 2014

A Discussion with Dennis Villelmi

I have another special guest appearing on the blog today. Dennis Villelmi is a poet and author whose work has appeared in Dagda Publishing's All Hail the New Flesh, an anthology of dystopian fiction.  

You've tried your hand at both, which do you feel more comfortable writing: prose or poetry?

Between prose and poetry I've always felt more at home in the latter, mainly because, when writing, I have a natural tendency towards a personal brand of esotericism which says as much in the "abysses" between the written lines as the lines themselves. However, that isn't to say that I don't bother with prose; I do occasionally, when I feel the subject is more an ocean than a river or stream.

Arthur Rimbaud
What are a few of your favorite authors or poets?

Foremost among my favorite authors are Arthur Rimbaud and Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Though Rimbaud was a poet and Lovecraft a master of the straight narrative, both were seers, or prophets to an extent; both were also tortured souls, which I've always been able to relate to.  I also enjoy reading Robert E. Howard, Clive Barker (a literary demigod to me and millions of others, no doubt,) Poe, and several of the authors of antiquity, viz. Virgil.  

When did the writing bug bite?

Wow, I'd say the desire to write first made itself known when I was fourteen. I had seen Clive Barker do a commercial in 1990 promoting his latest work at the time, The Great and Secret Show. About a year or so later when I was in a shopping mall bookstore I happened upon the paperback edition and, remembering the commercial, decided I had to buy it. As early as the first two chapters I realized, "This is what I want to do." So I've been penning stuff ever since.

Were other members of your family interested in literature?

My late mother certainly loved books. The memory of her bookcase is still vivid, really due to the fact that it towered over both child and adult.  She had Shel Silverstein, Will Rogers, Chaucer, and many more names which now elude me.

Have you seen a marked difference in your writing since you started? Not necessarily in quality but perhaps direction? Do you perhaps approach it differently than you once did?

Over the years the direction of my writing really hasn't altered. I'm just as fascinated by the same themes now as I was when I was much younger. However, my style has become more set in stone, as I make it a point to set more and more time aside for writing. Admittedly, my earlier efforts were haphazard at best, but you don't get anywhere like that, because you don't give yourself the time to learn who you are as a writer. Now, I have a better definition of myself, though it's still begging for completion.

Have you ever written anything that, once you were done, sort of took you by surprise? For example, as you were writing you didn’t realize there was a subtext there that you caught later?  

Seldom am I ever taken by surprise with anything that I write. (I'm not one for surprises in any case.) In my approach, I start with the undercurrent, in other words I go to the darkest depth and bring it up to the surface in all its ugliness. I prefer guidance by shadows as opposed to that of the light that many a writer takes as catechism.

How would you describe the poetry you write? 

The poetry I write is in two words: occult and blasphemous. I aim to unsettle and haunt anyone who reads it. By varying degrees there's Gnosticism involved, as well as the concrete world. But when I write, I keep in mind it's a soul's rebellion against the existing order dating back to Genesis 1:1.

What’s your favorite genre in general? Why?

In terms of genre, my appetite is singular: horror. Horror, and I'm sure Lovecraft, were he here now would nod in affirmation, is "the way, the truth, and the light." Yes, I know I just used the word "light;" but I mean a light of a much different kind. It's a light that the abyss guards hermetically. Horror is more than what we've taken for granted courtesy of celluloid and campfires; it's the scalpel, and the fire of Prometheus that shows us that the greatest monster is the so-called Almighty. 

What genre would you like to try?

Beyond horror, I would like to try my hand at science fiction again. Last year, I wrote a short story titled, "The Apian Way" for Dagda Publishing's anthology, All Hail The New Flesh and I rather enjoyed it due to the research I did and the feeling of playing Creator. I always keep an eye to the future with the hope of a future governed more by science than political folly and antique religious notions.

What are some of the books considered classic that you like?

Naturally, I like the Gothic masterpieces Frankenstein and Dracula. Anything under Edgar Allen Poe, of course. And I'm just as at home in Dante's Inferno as I am in Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the seminal scifi classic.

Do you have a ritual you follow to get you in the writing mood or can you sit down and just let it flow?

Oh there's no ritual; when the the open moments are there, I sit down with pen and legal pad or laptop and crash write. It's very liberating.

Any favorite music while you write?

When writing I oscillate between musical scores by Ennio Morricone and Moby and Black Metal.


Have you published before? 

Prior to my first successes via Dagda Publishing of the UK, I had never really been published. I had about thrown in the towel when Reg Davey emailed me to inform me that a poem I had written several weeks prior, and which I recall composing in just a few minutes, was featured on Dagda's website that day. It was then that I knew that I had to continue.

How do you like working with Reg Davey and Dagda?

Reg Davey is awesome! I mean, he's the kind of editor struggling writers the world over have been waiting for. He's supportive of all his authors and he and the team at Dagda  have proven themselves phenomenal in such a short period of time. To date, everything that Dagda has marketed has shown a remarkable level of professionalism that points in the direction of forthcoming citadel on the publishing landscape.

What are your thoughts on Indie Publishing?

Indie Publishing is the best bet, definitely. When you're an author incognito, you can count on remaining as such if you try and try with the mainstream. Indie Publishing on the other hand is that door left open during the night should you be in desperate need of shelter for yourself and your children, i.e. your short stories, poems, novellas, or what have you. 

What author or poet would you love to meet?

Before much longer I'd love to meet Clive Barker. (Bet you already guessed that one.) I'd also like to meet Kim Addonizio, as she has been an influence.

Thanks for hanging out on the blog today, Dennis. Good luck with your next project. 

For more information on projects by Dennis, visit 

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