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Arthur Powers Interview

Tell us a little about yourself :
Peace Corps/Brazil (1969-73). Corporate & international lawyer in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, and Boston (1975-85). Human rights lawyer and community/union organizer for Catholic Church in eastern Amazon region of Brazil (1985-92): lived in a village on the Araguaia River, working with subsistence farm families in an area of violent land conflicts. Director of international relief & development projects in Northeastern Brazil (1992-96). Legal Director in Brazil for Raytheon Company, working to install the Brazilian government’s environmental monitoring & air traffic control system for the Amazon (1997-2006). Currently VP of Raytheon JPS Communications.
Writing Awards:
  • 1984 Fellowship in Fiction, Massachusetts Artists Foundation
  • Fiction Award, Catholic Press Association (1st prize –1995, 2nd prize – 1998, 3rd prize - 2006)
When did you decide to become a writer?
In high school. I loved to read - especially the classics - and felt that I wanted to be part of the world of literature. I come from a family that loves stories, music, words.
What was your first published work?
A poem "On The Death Of Che Guevera" in a literary magazine called the Izinglass Review. This would have been about 1969.
What is your dream as a writer?
To be the best writer I can. To craft work that reflects the depths of human experience, especially in light of my experiences with the people of rural Brazil (I have lived in Brazil most of my adult life, and most of my fiction is set there).
What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
I write less poetry now (though I still write and publish a good deal of it); am focussing on short stories. I have a novel in search of an agent or publisher.
Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
Not really. I think you have to grow slowly, organically into writing.
What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
Write from a sense of vocation. Take your writing seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously. Listen to critiques, but don't distort your vision to please the market. Love your characters and treat them with respect (even the minor ones). Live life first - be a person foremost (and a good person) and let the writing flow from that.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
Remember the branch and vine parable. Seek inner peace and meaning, and let your writing flow from that.

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