A State of Flux
exploring Jason Splichal’s fifth book of poetry, Flux
After self-publishing four books of poetry in seven years, local author and teacher Jason Splichal reached a breaking point. In his last book, 2005’s The Disappeared, he actually killed off his flash-fiction characters as a way to put aside his writing and focus on family and teaching. Now the wildly popular South Middle School English teacher is back with a new book of poetry, Flux, and an upcoming reading at The Acoustic Café that will surely be overflowing.
After a day of teaching at South, Splichal sat down to discuss his book and his approach to his art, which he had left for dead after The Disappeared.
Splichal: “Not many people know that the book was called The Disappeared as a reference to the fact that I was done writing. I was literally going to disappear. It’s what I teach for a living: how to write … how to be inspired. Here I was facing the extinction of that within myself.”
When former students encouraged him to write another book after six years, Splichal struggled to find his footing.
Splichal: “It’s not like learning to ride a bike. I had changed as a person. My perspective on the world and the style in which I wrote was very different than it used to be. Once I got the rust off the gears, it was like reading another person’s writing. There’s a magic in being able to create something with your own hand that you don’t recognize. It’s like no one’s ever been on that trail.”
Unlike most poets, Splichal isn’t trying to frame his own experiences. Poems in Flux take place all over the world, from the perspectives of several different types of characters. The poems are more of an invention of the imagination, rather than a relay of an experience.
Splichal: “When it comes down to it, many write to explore their own interior lives. I write for the purpose of building interior lives in the minds of my readers. If the purpose is to create new experiences, poetry becomes as much of a service as it is an art or a craft. My life is full of service as a father, husband, and public school teacher, so it seems like a natural extension for my art.”
Part of poetry’s service package is that it helps us see our familiar surroundings in brand new ways. That’s what gives good poetry its intangible value.
Splichal: “It’s the ability to see and express how all things are connected. Each poem that’s written might shed light on just of few of those hidden connections. When you look at a body of work, that’s where the mystery between art and craft becomes an epiphany … where people can take something back to their own life and grow as a human being because of it.”
Flux works that way with its emerging themes. Repeated close readings reap new understandings. Imagery develops into patterns – leading to a climatic final poem that imagines what it may be like to die.
Splichal: “The theme of rebirth is what binds many of the poems together. There’s a lot of water imagery and celestial imagery throughout. These are, in many ways, metaphors for the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Whether we’re in the process of living or process of dying, who we are inside is in a constant state of flux.”
And with his devoted following, Splichal should attract Flux-capacity crowds well into the future.
Order your copy of Flux from The Local Store!