More about myself

Hi, I’m Sean.

I love to write philosophical poetry that rhymes and speaks to efforts to self-actualize and self-transcend.

In addition, appending supplementary notes to my poems, (giving them prosimetric quality) is something I value, as I believe it breaths more life, intentionality, context, and transparency.

Bob Dylan and Percy Shelley are the two poets I hope you’ll find me comparable to.

Both in terms of the quality of my annotations and the style of my poetry, prose plays an important role in my aesthetics. Thomas Mann, Fydor Dostoevsky, David Foster Wallace, Phillip Lopate, and Michel de Montaigne influence the fictional and essayistic aspects of my poetry.

From Shelley I certain share a similar sort of general philosophical outlook and idealism. Yes, an ideal is not realistic as goal towards perfection and constancy, but I also believe that an ideal serves as a sort of paradoxically malleable, evolving “Northern star”/Polaris, guiding us with hope towards optimizing our lives as much as we can, for as long as we can. Applied to poetry, (so long as we are careful and pragmatic) I tend to agree with Shelley that we can end up with some incredibly powerful stuff.

Regarding Dylan: most fundamentally, there is, to date, no poet I quote more often. “At the end of the day,” if a poet can succeed in what Dylan has done for me, and what Shakespeare and Goethe have managed, creating quotable literature that fossilizes and memorializes our most impassioned daydreams and contemplations, I think the poet has done a spiritually awesome thing. Dylan inspires me in this way (among many others).

Other poets I love and who influence me include:

Lord Byron

John Lennnon

Claude McKay

A.E. Stallings

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Emily Dickinson

Anthony Kiedis

To be honest with you, the question of which genre to write in constantly frustrates me. For about the last week I wanted to concentrate exclusively on the prosimetrum. Before that, poetry. Before that, I wrote a collection of essays about sexuality.

Moreover, I do write more than poetry. Sometimes I go almost a month and a half without it.

Why then do I consider myself primarily a poet? And what credibility do I have, in the midst of so much “no! this genre! no! that genre!” to identify so chiefly as such? And…what role to I envision my other writings can serve?

It seems to all come down to a sort of pervading orientation, where it seems as though I literally “hear” and “see” the flow of rhymes from a Bob Dylan song or a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, or a John Lennon song…and how I can almost literally “hear” and “see” these rhymes and rhythms and how they permit me to slow down and really memorialize my thoughts, let them compress and concentrate, let them truly “rhyme” and create a sort of ironically mystical thought.

(Ironic because I actually tend towards the essayistic, and the pursuit of the non-mystical…however, as we are not omniscient or omnipotent, reality from any human perspective, to the best of my knowledge, essentially can’t help but have mystical dimensions, consciousness of how unknown remains for us to explore and learn.)

One thing that often throws me off my poetry and into prose is my desire to write footnotes or endnotes that end up being sometimes so elaborate that the poem turns into a prosimetrum, and I start to wonder if the poetry has taken me away from what I really wished to say more…prosaically.

Strange and this may sound (it makes no sense to me): I can’t help but write poetry. Even at my least poetic phase of life, when I ran for political office, during quiet moments, I’d write poems and then stop myself, thinking I was losing myself somehow.

One of my concerns, when I write a prosimetrum, when prose takes me away from my verse, is that it can be like a sort of buzzkill or downer. I think of the beautiful rhythm of “Can’t Stop” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and then I imagine an interruption of the flow in prose, and it’s like nails on a chalk board.

My guess then, is that my other writings should serve supplementary purposes. Pretty as footnotes look on the surface (no rhyme intended!), perhaps Percy Shelley did it best with his style of end-notes. He wouldn’t even mark a part of the poem with a superscript. He’d just write his list of endnotes by citing, in the endnotes section, the part he’s referring to, as he elaborates in the end note.

Maybe it can also be the case that some aspects of a piece inspire a longer explanatory essay, or, I wonder, if in the midst of writing experimentally, I end up writing prosaic fiction, if this ends up a spring board for a poem to come.

In any event, I hope you can forgive me for how much I swerve all over the place and struggle to really commit to an identity for this website.

Recently, I was very inspired by a talk given by Amanda Montell, the writer of WordSlut and the upcoming book Cultish. (If you read me often enough, you know I make no secret about my intense admiration for Amanda Montell’s writings and insights!) At this talk, she offered uplifting thoughts on how an unpublished and frustrated writer is to stay uplifted. To paraphrase my understanding of what she meant to convey, her answer amounted to sheer determination. “Keeping my dream in the forefront of my mind” is what I believe she said, according to my notes. She even made a little joke about having invoked “the law of attraction.”

So I look back now, in my work, with a newly refreshed and optimistic feeling. With that in mind, I’ll tell you a bit about some of what I’ve done recently.

On December 9th, 2020, I started exploring themes revolving around sexuality and decided to compile these particular writings in a sex blog called The Sapiosexual Erotophile. The blog is an open-ended space for erotic literature, written in the form of essays, fiction, and poetry, exploring sex and its connections to the ever-improving life, from a literary and sapiosexual point of view. I suspect, as reality itself is fluid in evolution, this collection will also evolve. How/into what, I don’t know. When I started it, I felt so sexually repressed, and so self-pressured to write compositions quickly and find a way to make money, that I lost my means of more holistic thinking. Detaching so much from my other writings in hope of getting some sort of sex-writing/blogging gig was a mistake. But spending more time writing openly and freely and plentifully about sex was not. I suspect, at least from where my mind is now, this collection will eventually take the form of a series of poems with a plentitude of supplementary prose notes so that I can maintain both the integrity of keeping committed to my passion for poetry, while also giving the topic of sexuality the sort of attention I have given philosophy and politics an culture– whether as a single unified volume or simply organized together in a single category devoted to the erotic…remains to be determined.

Between roughly September and December 2020: this was one of my most productive periods as a poet and writer ever. In fact, I over-wrote. Challenged in one course for grad school to produce 25 pages of fiction (or fictional poetry in my case, as I was granted this permission) and thus, roughly 25 poems (because I don’t like a poem to occupy more than a page) in roughly 15 weeks, along with another three to six for my other class– I may have been a little mad/crazy, to be honest, considering the fact that I really do not like writing more than one poem a week. Experimenting with stepping up my pace and doing so at a time when I reached the tipping point of sexual repression and utter terror over the uncertain prospects of my financial future…I was in a peculiar and rather unbalanced psychological state.

As the new year persists my hope, first and foremost, is to reclaim my sense of balance and write from that healthier place.

Prior to the tizzy of the previous fall, I had spent much of the summer of 2020 writing an online diary.

This is, overall, the way my writings tend to bounce around from genre to genre, over the years.

If you’re curious about my education: I received my BA in Liberal Studies with concentrations in political science and history, and I was one course shy of a BA in English as well.

Currently, I’m a graduate student in pursuit of my MFA in Creative and Professional Writing at William Paterson University.

I was born in 1986, in New Jersey, where I grew up. I attended Kean University in 2004, and then transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University in 2005. Then, alas, pot and mental illness, et cetera, rather got the best of me and so I dropped out. I lived for awhile in South Beach, (Miami), Tampa Bay, Oceanside (California), and have since stuck to New Jersey. Prior to my academic work, I spent a fair amount of time in retail as a cashier.

In 2010, I self published a book of short stories, prose poems, and list poems– much of which, to be honest with you, makes me cringe, as I was 23 (though the book includes work I’ve written from when I was as young as 18), so it’s a touch immature and, as it was self edited, there’s plenty of typographical and factual mistakes. Moreover, philosophically, it was an awfully cocky effort, and I was still “rebelling” against academia.

I invested about a year of relentless self-marketing before it occurred to me that I disliked the book too much to persist.

For the next three years I experimented with YouTube and Ustream vlogging, writing political and philosophical essays, and even the occasional piece of video art.

Between 2013 and 2016 I went through a very political phase, running for political office each of those years…to no avail, but perhaps all the better, since I lacked the patience that politicians require.

In 2014, I returned to college and earned my Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, at Mercer County Community College. In 2016, I transferred to William Paterson University, and earned my BA in Liberal Studies, with concentrations in political science, history, and almost enough credits (I was one course shy!) to gain a separate BA in English.

That year, I also began working as a writing tutor for college students at Mercer County Community College, and I worked as an administrative assistant/student ambassador for William Paterson University. In 2019, I joined the tutoring team at Raritan Valley Community College. In January 2020, I worked as a learning coach for college freshmen at William Paterson University.

I have since left my positions at Mercer County Community College, and William Paterson University but remain at Raritan, as I complete my MFA and explore other work opportunities.

Now, as for my writing:

My two favorite poets are Bob Dylan and John Lennon; I also draw heavily from the fiction of Thomas Mann, the Non-fiction of Phillip Lopate, and the prose of David Foster Wallace.

Other poets and writers I love include Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Claude McKay, and A.E. Stallings, Milan Kundera, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Robert Musil, Susan Sontag, Leslie Jamison, Michel de Montaigne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A little bit about my more academic and intellectual influences:

I’m not sure my mind would have been sufficiently primed to be so receptive to Anzaldua if were not for Dr. Leonard Winogora, who encouraged me and mentored me through my undergraduate work in Liberal Studies, and continued supporting my passion for interdisciplinary and even more crucially, critical thinking.

Furthermore, professors Dr. Martha Witt and Dr. John Parras have both guided me as I’ve delved more deeply into both the theoretical meanings of “genre” as such, and how one might come to understand the three basic genres of literature more specifically.

Additionally, studying under Dr. Phillip Cioffarri has helped me learn a lot about the most organic aspects of the creative writing experience and how to draw from one’s own personal story to give authenticity to one’s creative expression.

I’m also influenced by the psychologists Martin Seligman, Abraham Maslow, Emily Nigoski (who is also a sexologist), the neurologist Tara Swart, the founder of the Headspace app Andy Puddicombe, the pornography filmmakers Paulita Pappel, and Erika Lust.

Aside from my writing, I’m vehemently political, and fascinated with human sexuality, open about my polyamory and…I love dogs.

My wife and I adopted a Siberian mix from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in October of 2019.

This site still remains a work in progress so there are still things I want to share with you about myself and my work that are missing. Also, I apologize for any typographical errors and thank you for your patience!