Meet the Staff: Michael Carrino

Meet the Staff: Michael Carrino

By Adam Gordon, SR Spring 2016 Editorial Assistant

Michael Carrino holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He was an English lecturer at the State University College at Plattsburgh, New York, where he was a co-founder and poetry editor of the Saranac Review. He continues his involvement as an associate editor of poetry. He has had five other books of poetry published: Some Rescues, Under This Combustible Sky, Café Sonata, Autumn's Return to the Maple Pavilion and By Available Light as well as individual poems in numerous journals and reviews.

He will host an evening of poetry reading and book signing for his new work, Always Close, Forever Careless, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. The event starts at 7 p.m. at 30 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh.

1) What inspired you to write your new collection, Always Close, Forever Careless?

I try to write an hour each day, either revising drafts of poems or making entries in my writer's journal.

When a selection of poems feel complete and connected I create a manuscript that I can cobble into a possible book.  In this new book, I was intrigued by the fragile nature of our relationships, either brief or extended, with people and places.


2) How did you come up with the title?

The title is the last two lines of the poem “Close” on page 28.   It's related to the idea of the fragile nature of relationships, and how, if even slightly careless, these relationships can be damaged.


3) How did the Saranac Review change you as a writer?

I was one of four co-founders of SR.   For a time I was the Poetry Editor and since retiring, I've been an Associate Editor.  SR is an important component of my ability to continue to challenge myself to be a better reader and writer.  I read all genres with fresh eyes, working diligently to see how the work was crafted in terms of the elements of effective writing:  Evoking, Sense, Sound and Form.  It makes me even more careful working on drafts of my own poems.


4) What is it like to transition from being a writer and teacher into retirement?

I have more time to write and read and watch films.  I miss interacting with students, helping them explore the process of learning and living an authentic life.


5) What is your favorite poem in your new collection?

I've had six (6) poetry books published and there are many favorites:  my first poem accepted for publication in a literary journal, the poem that was chosen for an anthology and many others.  In Always Close, Forever Careless, I'd say there are two favorites.  One is  “While at the Carriage House in Westport” on page 22 because it was prompted by a quote by the quirky humorist, Jack Handy.  The other favorite is “Wreckage” on page 18, which after only a few drafts was an amazingly enjoyable poem to write.


6) Do you have any advice for young, beginning writers?

Work hard to understand the craft. Make writing a routine. Read poetry, fiction and non-fiction.  Keep a writer's journal. Don't confine yourself to reading only contemporary writing.  Revise.  Revise more.  Revise again.  Keep revising.