Friend of the Chickens, Jeff Weddle, hangs out with poet Dominic Albanese at the intersection of life and art.
Dominic Albanese: The Real Deal
Interview by Jeff Weddle
You can call Dominic Albanese a lot of things, and some of them he’ll answer to. Things like ex-con, ex-soldier, ex-fighter are fair game. These days, you can mostly call him a poet, and a prolific one. His distinctive and brutally honest work deserves serious attention from anyone who prefers poems with the true rhythms of life to the polished vapor of workshopped verse.
He’s traveled the world and known some of the greats. As a kid in the 1950s, he hung around NBC Studios in New York, where his father worked as the nighttime building supervisor for the famed Rockefeller Center. Albanese was friendly there with celebrities of the day. Dorothy Kilgallen and Arline Francis were always nice to him, and Rosemary Clooney watched out to make sure he got a big plate of lasagna on nights his Aunt Celia brought it to the studio. Later in life, he became friends with Ted Berrigan and Robert Crumb, and once met Charles Bukowski, whom he loathed.
We had kind of pictured the Author spotlight as a place to look over the collected works of an author, to discuss themes, which books to read and why. However, Jarad was impressed enough to recommend this author as someone to watch. As of now, Gyasi has published one book of historical fiction, which was already reviewed on Sacred Chickens, called Homegoing. It detailed the story of two sisters separated at birth on the Gold Coast, modern day Ghana, and the three hundred years of their descendants. The book addresses slavery and its impact on American society as well as in Ghana, post slavery, the crack epidemic of the 1980s, motherhood, the Anglo-Asante Wars, as well as a host of other issues; however, the book does an excellent job of educating the reader on the realities of slavery, both in Ghana and the Americas, and how it continues to impact our society. It's one of those books that should be considered a classic, and is very much worth your time. As for Gyasi, since her debut novel was so brilliant, once can only imagine how her career will progress.
According to Penguin Random House, "Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in New York City.
Yaa Gyasi is available for select speaking engagements. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.prhspeakers.com".