A series of conversations, lead by Elza Rauza, with the new generation of poets. Illustrations – Linda Karlsone.

Klāvs Veģis, Procurement Specialist, Writer, Poet

-Who do you write for?

-I write for no one. I get an urge to write or a sentence pops in my head and then I work with it – I think of 2 lines and then one more and one more. When a verse is ready, I decide where exactly in the poem it will be. And the thoughts grow into a poem. I usually have 3 verses. Most of my poems have a dark undertone, inspired by my mental state in a way. I usually get an urge to write when I have dark clouds over me, or sometimes my poems are like an observation of the world around me – society, events, humans in general, because I understand people very well, especially their motivation to do certain things.

-Those dark clouds over you are the driving force for your writing?

-Primarily yes. Of course, some of my work is based on a phrase that seems too good to be let go of.

-Are you self – critical?

-Very. I don’t like a single thing I do. I think that all of my work could be developed more. However, when I do so, it still doesn’t go the way I planned because I find more things to fix.

-Does it turn into a never-ending cycle?

-No, over the years I have learned to step out of it – I stop when I have understood that there practically is nothing to fix anymore.

-Is there a person that has inspired your writing?

-My mother named me after Klāvs Elsbergs [a Latvian poet], and I would definitely say that I resonate with his work because his writing is also quite similar to mine. He was not a positive poet. I haven’t read his works for a while, but I liked them in high school. Thus, maybe something about his message stayed with me and inspired my work.

-What is your newest discovery in the cultural scene?

-Nothing really, to be honest. I am a closed-off person, I don’t really show any interest in the world around me. Music is probably the only thing that I dive into more frequently as in discovering new artists. However, my favourites are still bands that I listened to ten years ago.

-Is your mindset more positive or negative?

-I have 3 sides – rational, which I use in my everyday life, then I can be really childish, which comes with both pluses and minuses, and then the dark side, which is hostile towards everything.

-How the world around one impacts them?

-It depends on the person.

-How it impacts you?

-I truly try to not let it bother me. I can easily isolate myself and be in my own bubble. I am a melancholic, thus I am quite unstable and easily influenced. So, I needed to learn how emotions would not get the best of me, especially in the darker periods.

-Do you think you have empathy?

-I think I have it, but I feel that I am quite negative about a lot of people. I try to not show it and consciously be polite and understanding, but inside there is this powerful voice full of negativity. But I guess everyone has these demons.

-I think so too. What is something you want other people to remember about you?

-I don’t care how I just want people to remember me. Overall, we all work and work towards reaching some sort of goal but no one really knows what goal in particular. With that kind of thinking one will die and no one will remember them. I don’t have a problem with being infamous even, I just want to be remembered, which could be seen as extremely egoistic.

-I think a lot of people have this need. I also want to be remembered, no matter how.

-Egoism is human. Everyone is egoistic. I guess mainly it can be interpreted as we just want to do something that will leave a mark, at least a micro one.

-It can be grouped together with the meaning of life, at least to some extent. Do you differentiate art from the artist?

-Yes.

-You don’t create correlations between those two things?

-No, because it would be foolish of me to do so. It’s not like if the artist is bad person, his work is not valuable because, well, Hitler was an artist. He did some pretty horrible things, but his art is good. He was talented. Nowadays it’s not like that though.

-I agree with how the modern-day doesn’t allow that, especially with all the social media.

-That is why I avoid putting myself on social media.

-Do you think that social media is not needed?

-It is needed as a way of communication, but not the way that it has turned into now. Social media controls people. It’s not that bad in Latvia, but, for example, in the USA it has been out of control for a while now.

-Is social media one of the minuses of this day?

-Yes, we are really addicted to it. It sounds like boomer talk but it is true. We always have a charged phone next to us and iPads, laptops, smart watches etc. it’s everywhere. I don’t enjoy being in this bubble. It’s horrible, because people don’t see the world around them anymore. I’m not the one usually to tell that the world is beautiful, but there are limits, which we have crossed a good while ago. Another minus is that we loose humanity. It is really easy to laugh about someone now, because we don’t know how to feel anymore. I often wonder how many people stop for a second before sending something negative and think about the damage that will be done.

-What direction, in your opinion, the world is heading in? Of course, except global warming.

-Apocalypse. We will destroy ourselves. Relationships are tense, if we look at global news, fake news exists. And the bad thing is that we won’t learn anything from it as we have a tendency to not learn from the past. Only strong people can learn from mistakes. Moreover, all mistakes have been made in the past, except with different tools. Before industrialization, there were still wars, but somehow people lived through them because the number of people was not that high. Now we are a lot, and everything is missing. We are like empty shadows from the past. Dark but true.

-What is the lesson we should learn from the past?

-We should turn off electricity for a year or two. Technology makes living really easy, but easy living makes people weak. And weak people create chaos. Let’s just step back for a moment and understand where everything went wrong.

-Do you think war is an answer?

-War is just a loss from all aspects. Of course, the world would benefit from fewer people though, especially looking at the problems the world has now.

-What is your relationship with religion?

-I don’t believe in God, but I don’t like the word atheist, because in the last years this word has been spoiled. I don’t believe in it, but I don’t care if the person standing next to me does because it’s their way of coping with their problems. Some people need that. I don’t like the way religion has been systematized, almost like a way to earn an income. Trust who you want to trust but don’t push your views on me.

-Do you have any suggestions for young artists?

-Just do it. The more you think about it, the worse it will get.

April 9, 2020

Comments

I really loved the interview and wanted to read some of the writer’s poems but couldn’t find anything online. Is his work available somewhere?

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