The Writing University conducts is a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the International Writing Program's fall residency. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.
Today we are talking with Roberto Echeto, a poet, fiction writer and essayist from Venezuela.
1. Do you have a plan or project in mind for your time at the residency?
I have some projects in mind, but the main one is to meet other writers, know about their works and their countries, share experiences and knowledge.
2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?
I'm writing all the time, even when I'm not in front of my computer, even when I'm washing the dishes or helping my kids with their homework.
3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?
I'm reading Los detectives salvajes, by Roberto Bolaño, and Apariencia desnuda, by Octavio Paz. I often ignore the difference between research and pleasure, at least when I'm focused in certain issues or certain books. I like to read about artists and how they depict their inner worlds.
4. What is something the readers and writers of Iowa City should know about you and/or your work?
I'm interested in arts. Sometimes I sound as an art (or literature or music) critic, but, for me, the most important thing are the ideas behind any work, no matters if I'm analyzing a poem or a painting. Of course, I enjoy music and literature by themselves.
5. Tell us a bit about where you are from -- what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?
Life is hard and strange everywhere, but in my hometown, we break all standards of bizarre. If I have to say something more specific, I have to declare that Caracas is a beautiful place with big trees and a big mountain and nice weather all year. The harmful things come from politics. We live a kind of social and economic wreck. Paradoxically, I think that a poisoned environment like I just described, needs the voice of writers and artists.
Thank you Roberto!
Roberto ECHETO (poet, fiction writer, essayist; Venezuela) has published three story anthologies, a novel, and two books of essays. A founding member and faculty at the Instituto de Creatividad y Comunicación in Caracas, he writes and edits for journals, produces for radio, and writes scripts. In 2015 Echeto won the mixed-media contest Concurso Transgenérico from Cultura Urbana for Maniobras elementales [Elementary Maneuvers]. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department.