Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to welcome our long-time friend Victor Infante to our Spotlight blog! Victor is the featured artist for this month’s Worcester Storytellers on Friday, March 25. The open mic starts at 7:00 PM, and the evening usually goes until about 8:30.
Victor has many ties to Worcester and Worcester’s writing community, as well as being part of Worcester Storytellers, and he will soon be releasing his newest chapbook of poetry, Hymns from the Salvation Jukebox.
Welcome, Victor! For those not yet familiar, how would you introduce yourself and describe your work?
Hmmm. Let’s see. My name is Victor Infante, and I’m, among other things, the entertainment editor for The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the editor-in-chief of the online literary journal Radius, and the author of the full-length poetry collection City of Insomnia, from Write Bloody Publishing. I’ve been writing and publishing poems, short stories, essays and articles for more than 25 years. Most recently, I’ve had a short story, The Death of a Copy Editor, appear in the anthology Murder Ink: 13 Tales of New England Newsroom Crime, edited by Dan Szczesny and published by Plaidswede Publishing; and a poem, How to Grow Old Gracefully and Still Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, in the anthology Again I Wait For This to Pull Apart, edit by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib and published by FreezeRay Press. I’m about to release my newest chapbook of poetry, Hymns from the Salvation Jukebox.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your most recent releases?
That’s not as easy a question as you might think it would be, because I do a lot of things. A short story like The Death of a Copy Editor can be relatively straightforward and plot- and character-driven, but a work such as Hymns From the salvation Jukebox might be more challenging and postmodern. I’m a big believer in using the right tools to express the idea, and don’t want to get pigeonholed by a series or linguistic tricks and ticks. So I suppose going in with no expectations is the best plan of attack.
What was the inspiration for your most recent work? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
I’m not sure Hymns from the Salvation Jukebox is entirely finished, but I wanted to use poetry to find a new way to explore the Bible: Each poem is inspired by a randomly chosen Bible verse, which I used as a writing prompt. On the whole, it’s a secular book, except perhaps when it isn’t, but I think the DNA of the source material is still in there. In a lot of ways, it’s an examination of the cultural lens through which we view the world as much as it is anything.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out [newest release/spotlighted release]? How did you overcome that challenge?
When I say random, I mean random. Not everything in the Bible is as inspiring as the one about passing camels through the eye of a needle or what not. Some of them are strictly connective verses. Some of them are about cubits. It didn’t matter what I picked, I forced myself to go with it.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I set out to be a writer because it was the only thing I wanted to do. Circular logic, I know, but there it is. But that said, all I’ve ever asked from a life in writing is to go to interesting places and to meet interesting people, and I’ve done that. I should probably have asked for money, too, but there you are. I love the possibilities each new poem or article or whatever opens up, the chance to connect to people that I’ll likely never meet. If something I’ve written touches them in even the slightest way, I’ve done my job right. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to know if that happened, but the universe usually gives you clues.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Well, they can read The Telegram & Gazette most Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, of course, and City of Insomnia is also available at That’s Entertainment. It’s sort of out of print, but you can still get it online, and the Kindle edition is still in print. Otherwise, my poems and stories have appeared in dozens of periodicals, including The Chiron Review, The Collagist, Barrelhouse, Pearl, Spillway, The Nervous Breakdown and Word Riot, as well as in anthologies such as Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry, Spoken Word Revolution Redux, The Last American Valentine: Poems to Seduce and Destroy, Aim For the Head: An Anthology of Zombie Poetry and The Incredible Sestina Anthology.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I am seriously the most easy person to find on the Internet. My website is http://www.victorinfante.com/, and I can be found with very little effort on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you again for being on our blog, Victor, and we look forward to hosting you and the Worcester Storytellers this coming Friday, March 25, starting at 7:00 PM!