Q&A With Branch Isole, Voyeuristic Poet
Alumnus of Texas State University
Jun 12 2013 - 1:19pm | Jordan Gass-Poore' http://star.txstate.edu/node/7083
As the “Voyeuristic Poet,” Branch Isole explores the issues and emotions people may often experience but do not always voice. The Texas State alumnus draws inspiration for his poetry from the choices that are made or are avoided based on these unvoiced experiences.
In the 1960s he moved from California to Texas, having never lived in the Lone Star State, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education at Texas State. Isole said his fellow students’ friendly dispositions were a pleasant and “unusual” surprise. He was born in Osaka, Japan to a military family that traveled extensively throughout his youth. His travels, both physical and spiritual, continued after his college graduation.
Isole has lived in Hawaii for more than a decade. It was in Hawaii where he wrote his first poem and legally changed his name. Isole has since written 22 works, from poetic prose to erotica, spirituality and self-help, three of which were released last spring.
Jordan Gass-Poore’: What is “voyeuristic poetry”?
Branch Isole: The tagline is “looking out, seeing in.” Unlike most poets, my work isn’t biographical. It’s about people and events that go on in my world then I comment on them. What I’ve found looking out and reflecting is that our behaviors are pretty normal and that people can usually see themselves. We can identify issues and emotions in the world that we can see in ourselves and this helps us grow as a person.
JGP: How are the themes of spirituality and sexuality similar or different in your work?
BI: Sexuality is a part of us and our human nature. As human animals we have a sexual nature and a spiritual nature. Both sides are heavily emphasized. I focus on the spiritual because I see a need today to reconnect with that part of our character. Even though I write from a Christian perspective, I recognize all religions and individuals’ spiritual relationships with each other or his or her god. I don’t try to push the spiritual thing. I don’t try to convert people. My job as a writer is to make a connection with people’s emotions and to make people think and take off their blinders, to discover the importance of the spirit.
JGP: How have your travel experiences influenced your writing, if any?
BI: They were opportunities to live in different places and interact with different people. I had a well-minded upbringing. My travels gave me my keen sense of observation. I’m very in-tune with my surroundings. It helped me hone my sense of observation.
JGP: What are most people’s initial reactions to your work and “voyeuristic poetry”?
BI: They initially think it has to do with sex. The more they get into it they understand the purpose behind the stories and realize it’s not all about sex. Each of the prose stories deal with everyday emotions. It’s a growth process for me and the readers.
JGP: Why did you move to Hawaii?
BI: I was making a change in my life. I decided to go all the way. I had a mid-life epiphany, changed my entire lifestyle. The spiritual walk is the foundation of life. Everything I write is to drive people to a spiritual life (and) plant that seed for their spiritual awakening.
JGP: What is your advice to aspiring authors?
BI: Don’t be afraid of writer’s block. A lot of people get antsy. Writer’s block can be good. It gives you a chance to step back and mentally expand. Aspiring writers ready to go to the marketplace have to have a website (with) a shopping cart (option), so their fans can buy their work. Aspiring writers don’t have to have big time publishers.
Throughout American political eras and at different times in our history as a nation there have been efforts to establish, run candidates and compete on local, state and national levels by ‘Third Party’ movements. Several have had a modicum of success but none have had the staying power to gain a foothold and then parlay it into a viable governance alternative for very long. After two hundred plus years we may have finally reached a tipping point.
As with all third party groups, the governing options and control eludes its members through efforts and procedures instituted by opposing Democrats and Republicans. Third party efforts by and large take more than one or two election cycles to make any lasting headway in the active participation of the governing process with sustained longevity.
One of the strengths of the ‘Tea Party’ has been, not only were they successful in electing representatives to both houses of Congress, they have managed to exercise legislative muscle both in passing and blocking various legislative proposals. Even more admirable has been their efforts at determining the pace and scope of much of the current political dialogue. Hand in hand with their efforts to continue garnering steadfast and new support among grass roots party operatives, they are not giving up. They are evermore emboldened to fight on; even as it appears they may be willing and ready to contest their own Republican Party leadership and many GOP ‘old school’ political stalwarts.
Now that Michelle Bachman has decided not to run for congress again, both she and Sarah Palin may become stalwarts of influence within a minority Republican Party movement. Both have strident support and being females epitomize for many the perceived vision of a strong ‘everyday-woman’ who has challenged and competed with powerful men.
Undoubtedly the 2016 election cycle may become the “year of the women” candidates. With demographic and voter turnout roles changing rapidly, many ‘minority’ groups will contest America’s “old white men era” by beginning to take their place of power brokers in the postmodern era of U.S. politics. The elections of Barack Obama have tested the traditional electoral powers and parties and have opened the floodgates to others who have been waiting in the wings as disenfranchised members of an American society in flux.
Election to the Oval Office of a man with black ethnicity and heritage has unleashed the pent-up desires of newfound possibilities among women and Latinos, which has been festering and evolving in grass roots efforts for decades. Starting with the 2008 election cycle, nothing will ever be the same again in American politics. As the old white men of the Republican and Democratic parties retire and die, gone with them will be much of the control which has been a stranglehold upon those without position, power or money.
It is evident that the stubborn ignorance of many currently wielding political powers, particularly within the Republican Party, have missed not only an opportunity, but also the handwriting on the wall. Their long held racist views and practiced elitist wealth avarice has kept them cloistered and their mindsets inert.
Corruption in both commerce and governance will continue to be with us indefinitely, however the bonding of those at the bottom levels of societies, both in America and worldwide may start a confluence and recognition of ‘peoples power’ both as consumers and voters. As with every revolution in history, people will only take so much and can be pushed only so far until they fight back. Whether that insurgency takes place in the markets, the streets, or the legislatures, change is on the horizon. The “Hope and Change” Barack Obama spoke of in the campaign run-up to the 2008 election may not have emerged within his Presidency as many had anticipated, but the seeds of that change were planted, and have been watered day by day for these subsequent years.
We may see in the near future a strengthening of existing third parties and the blossoming of new similar political efforts. Two impending results of the pervasive ignorance and arrogance of today’s Republican Party membership may soon come to pass. First, a split faction of republican minority interests and second, evidence that change takes place no matter how much those in power attempt to stifle it.
In the Hawaiian language, "Mana'o" (ma na o) is the word used to describe 'thoughts, ideas, and opinions'.
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Please be advised that works by Branch Isole are written for adults, containing adult material and language, some of which is sexual in nature. All works are
intended for mature audiences.