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.
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.