Poetry and Writing

Poetry Reading & Signing - St Lawrence University, Canton, NY 3.1.03
Poetry Reading & Signing - St Lawrence University,....
© St Lawrence University.
'I don't have to wait on other people as to whether I'm allowed to work, and it's up to me if I want to ruin it in the editing.' - Viggo Mortensen

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Poetry and Writing

"I have written since I was a child. At six or seven, I did my first little stories. I talked about animals, kid things. At about 15, I started with poetry. I always write. In airplanes, in bed, in the bathtub."

"Writing and acting are like being a kid again"
By Eduardo Bejuk
Gente Magazine - translated by Zooey
September 2009




"I've always liked to write stories and poems," says Mortensen. "I learned watching other people do it and by trial and error, just like acting."

Could Viggo Mortensen Be The Perfect Man?
By Nathan Cooper & Mike Glynn
Star
23 December 2003




Before becoming an actor, he was a published poet, and he still carries a notebook wherever he goes 'just in case a moment presents itself to be stolen.'

The Appealingly Weird World of Viggo Mortensen
By Amy Wallace
Esquire
March 2006




"Poetry," he says," is a way to look at life from multiple points of view, a feeling of duplication which even gets more intense if you do it in two languages, like I do."

To Viggo, poetry is a way to leave reality behind in order to reach another, purer reality, away from those commonplace moments and the difficult situations for which there's no apparent relief. Poetry, to him, is a way to put the world into perspective.

About Them... "I like a brave woman"
By Salvador Llopart - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zooey
La Vanguardia
14 March 2010




"For me, it's like taking apart an engine. You take all the pieces, you put them on a table and when you finish putting it together, you leave some of them aside."

Viggo on writing poetry
"Writing and acting are like being a kid again"
By Eduardo Bejuk
Gente Magazine - translated by Zooey
September 2009




How much of your life is in your stories and poems?

Like all writers, I write many different things, but you always create using your own life, even if everything is imaginary on the page. As much as you invent a totally distinct world, there's always something of yourself, even if you don't realize it. I contribute my experiences as a person who's travelled all over and has had a somewhat unusual bond with language. Canciones de invierno [Winter Songs], for example, has things that seem to be very true and very much mine, and they aren't. Maybe the writings where I hide or invent myself are more my own than those that are directly autobiographical.

Viggo Mortensen - All of Us are Mestizos
by Carlos Shilling - translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio and Zoe
LaVoz
November 2010




"I always kept writing in Spanish. But I realized that my language was out of date. It was my parent's language. Then, with the long trips to Argentina and Spain, close contact with the language allowed me to enter a new stage, more up to date and rich."

Viggo Mortensen, The Poet
By Valeria Melon - translated by Ollie, Rio, Sage and Zoe
La Nacion
19 December 2010




'I write faster in English; in Spanish I am slower because I left knowing the slang of the late 60's and when I returned in '95, I found other words in use. Speaking so much English or Danish, sometimes I write in a strange way; there are things that are very personal, very much mine, and others that seem to me unique until later I realize that here they are said every day. I like to whittle at the poems, work them until they are as short as possible, but at the same time have a lot in them.'

Viggo Mortensen
"I feel honored to be able to give a hand to poets"
Translated for V-W by Zooey and Sage
Pagina 12
20 August 2009




....if you´ve written a poem and you read it, you don´t know what will happen. Something changes between my mouth and the eyes and ears of those who are there reading or listening to my words, my little story. Something changes between writing it and pronouncing the words. I don´t know what the reader receives. There´s no net. For that reason, I'm responsible for what I´ve written and for how I read it.

Viggo Mortensen - All of Us are Mestizos
by Carlos Shilling - translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio and Zoe
LaVoz
November 2010




Mr. Mortensen's poetry is not your typical verse and rhyming couplet-type thing, or even the more acceptable modern version of free verse. He creates something more along the lines of prose pictures, imagery forged in words that seek to define, in the words of Joyce that he quotes so appropriately in one of his books, the conciseness of his race.

Review: This That And The Other
By Richard Marcus
blogcritics.org
March 20, 2007




His search for artistic expression or credibility is organic and promiscuous. When it's pointed out that people might come to his poetry readings or buy his books because he's a movie star, he nods, accepting this. "Sure, sure - I'm not unaware of that. I know if I announced that I'm going to do a book signing tonight with no advance warning, there will probably be a bunch of people there because of the movie. But some people will come to hear the reading and some people will come because of The Lord of the Rings. I don't care. If they come and hear the poems and they have a reaction pro or con, and there's a connection made between me and them - then who cares?"

The Brain Dane
by Ariel Leve
The Sunday Times, 2003




The author of two published books of poetry, Mortensen crafts spare, fine-tuned verses that end with the sharp report of a metaphor hitting its target. Most paint a languid picture of West Coast suburban life a milieu of cars, swimming pools and lovers' conversations; some ruminate on the life of the movie actor with surprising acuity.

The Man Who Would Be King
by Nick Dent
Black & White magazine 2001




These [Mortensen's] poems seem close to the way his mind works: things tend to be collaged in where they almost fit, or, more precisely, they fit in the only way they can: almost.

Kevin Power
Viggo Mortensen: A Life Tracking Itself
Singlanguage 2002




The poetry works because Mortensen is Scandinavian (Danish father, American mother), says Manhire, "and there is this Scandinavian myth about how poetry is a mixture of blood and honey - his poetry has that mixture."

Bill Manhire, Victoria University, NZ
"I'm a poet" - Rings star Mortensen
by Josie McNaught
Sunday Star-Times 2003




Are your poems born from happiness or from pain?

I've probably written more poems about moments that have some kind of complication. But I think there are elements of both.

Viggo Mortensen
The Inner Viggo
By Jenny Ewart, New
Zealand's Woman's Weekly, 2003




"I sometimes gravitate toward one language or another or a certain structure for a poem or short story. In the past year or so, I've been writing mostly in Spanish for some reason. Whatever I was feeling, I felt like I've got to express it in Spanish. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because I've been hanging around Spanish-speaking people or Spanish-speaking countries a lot recently."

Viggo Mortensen - For The Good Of The People
By Elliot V Kotek
Moving Pictures
Winter 2008-2009




'I don't have to wait on other people as to whether I'm allowed to work, and it's up to me if I want to ruin it in the editing.'

Viggo Mortensen on writing poetry
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997




'I'm always looking at things that I write and going 'what can I take out of that and [make] it still work'. And then, years later... I might look at that poem again and go, 'You know, I can still take out two words.'

Viggo Mortensen
The Fire That Fuels an Artist's Heart
by Carnell
Carpe Noctem magazine #15, 1999




'He kept a lot of his poetry inside his refrigerator,' says Cervenkova, 'which endeared him to me forever.'

Exene Cervenkova
Viggo Mortensen
by Steve Pond
US Magazine #236, 1997




'It is important to protect living poetry, which is also why I participate as often as I can in public readings."

Viggo Mortensen
A Year in the Life of Viggo Mortensen
by Sophie Benamon
Studio Magazine, 2003




'It's great if someone who never would've gone to a poetry reading goes to one because they're thinking, "Oh, that actor guy's doing it - it'll probably be shit, but we should go and see it anyway!"'

Viggo Mortensen on 'The Road'
By David Jenkins
Time Out
7 January 2010




"The success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy changed the deal a little. Before then, when I put on a poetry reading, there would just be a circle of my friends around me. Now there are hundreds of inquisitive strangers. If fame can make an under-appreciated art better known, it's perfect!

Viggo Mortensen
Grazia Magazine
Translated by Chrissiejane
December 2009




'A lot of people that were here tonight said something about their writing, but were too embarrassed by it. And I'd ask them about what they write and encourage them to pursue it. People sometimes seem to feel that poetry is just this little thing you do privately, like your diary. But in reality it's something that you can work at in many ways, that you can share, that you can take as far as you like.'

Viggo Mortensen at the Midnight Special reading
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
by Scott Thill
Morphizm 2002




"I wrote that one while thinking about my childhood, the mental and physical strength children have: the daring, the innocent courage, the absence of prejudice, the visceral connection with nature, with the environment that surrounded me, which seemed to threaten me and embrace me..."

Viggo talking about Chaco
The Hidden Side of Viggo Mortensen
Fernanda Nicolini
Diario Crítica de la Argentina.
Translated by Graciela, Remolina, Sage and Zooey
1 July 2009




'Words were everywhere I looked, filling dreams, giving me names for everything. It was all I could do to keep up with them, catch a few as they drifted through me, fell now and then from clouds, from my eyes to the table, onto my lap or became tangled in horses' manes. Most of the words got away, as they usually will, but at night I regularly managed to gather them in bunches.'

Viggo Mortensen
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin, 2004




"Patches of recorded feeling vanished, irretrievable. There is no point in trying to remember and rebuild the word houses, word hills, word dams, or word skeletons like some sort of archeology project. There may be pieces I recall or inadvertently retell, but every word will be new, will go somewhere, will die no matter what I might do to tame or hold it."

Viggo Mortensen on his lost writings
Introduction to Best American Non-Required Reading
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

Last edited: 14 September 2011 11:47:42