You write in verse, which is a rare thing to see these days. What do you like about verse that distinguishes it from prose?
It just fits best with my brain patterns. I obsessively count letters and syllables, and so rhythmic writing satisfies me. To me prose is work, poetry is joy, so it's not a hard choice.
You started out as a poet, then switched to playwriting. What led you to each in the first place?
I became a poet because I loved making word puzzles. I became a playwright because I got lonely.
Do you still write poetry?
Yes, but only as songs that I sing. I seem incapable of leaving words on paper.
Let's talk about your play that's being published, Want's Unwish't Work. It's inspired by Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. What is it about Shakespeare—and that play, in particular—that inspired you?
I think Love's Labour's Lost is one of the most complex, playful dramatic poems ever written, rivaled only perhaps by a few other Shakespeare plays. How could I not be inspired by Shakespeare? He's the greatest writer ever, we all recognize that, and so I set out to beat him at his own game.
I read in a previous interview of yours that you're mostly influenced by classical verse playwrights, and not at all by contemporary writers. Is that still true?
No. I only read contemporary writers now, though of course that might change some day. I finally see that Bill Knott is the greatest poet ever.
In addition to writing plays, you also run your own theatre company, Inverse Theater. What led you to start Inverse?
I was not about to live that life of mailing my plays to 1,000 people, hearing back from one of them, then they hold a reading of my play in a workshop environment, and after the reading they tell me how to change my play so it's somewhat like what they might write could they write which they can't. I wanted to be produced, constantly, and to be surrounded collaboratively with other theater artists.
You've been credited with coining the phrase "Indie Theater" as a permanent replacement for the term "Off-Off-Broadway." Would you tell us a little more about what "Indie Theater" means to you, and how you came up with it?
I came up with it when Inverse was given a NYITA for greatness in Off-Off-Broadway, and I thought at the ceremony "What am I going to say?" and so I said what was on my mind, which was that I am not Off-Off that ridiculous street where bad theater ruins the world night after stupid night. But then I thought, so what is the kind of theater I do? And I thought, well, I don't think it can be categorized truly, so maybe it's just a marketing question, and so I thought Indie film and Indie music are so sexy and everyone wants to be that etc...so why not name it Indie Theater and then maybe we'll be sexy too?
As far as what I think Indie is, I will refer you to a monologue from my most recent play, No More Pretending, which will be appearing in early November and which is sort of about the quest of being an Indie artist and the difficulties therein:
I'm talkin bout an indie reformation!
Gonna set my own standards, disregard
Dispense, gonna compose my audience,
Develop along my own lines, gonna
Misdirect the signs, disinvite the times,
Refine what I need, underfeed the god greed
So I can risk my assessments, squander
My investments, gonna stand for no frisk,
Won't pander to nuthin, not even myself
On a compact disc all slanderin and cussin.
Gonna strut the gamut, prove the or-else
A bluffin but, gonna fight for the right
To be useless, define to dispossess,
Gonna say ‘But I digress’ with the pride
Of the powerless, gonna crave my errors,
My snide ambassadors to metaphors
Unthought of, emulating prior to
Judgment, gonna flop, falter, feign my whatfor
Beyond this grudgement of ingratiating,
Gonna hang with the wrong crowd that they might
Be neither, call me theater, but I love
To close, gonna sing my sinking song loud
Til I get away with the everyday.
Gonna descend to the occasion of
My rejection, cuz that’s the direction
Whence I transcend the trend and end this trance,
Gonna practice passive use, induce diffuse,
Make money jealous, defuse the famous,
As I run into problems like a hippo
Into potamus. Gonna show my know
To miscompute, miscompete, misconstrue,
Ain't you? No one should work for someone else,
The planet's way too precious for your wealth,
Yo, gettin paid be givin pollution,
I want the tribe, not the distribution.
Gonna pay my trib to the dis if the sys
Don't salute, gonna refute my repute,
I'm done securin significant deals,
Gonna deal in significance that we
Might lose the need to be secure. Embrace
The unsure, the medium is the mess,
We fail in success, gonna recoup
What I divest, I don't care what you think
Cuz I care what you think, ain't gonna stress
No ‘How to be a snake and walk on two’
Booshit lessons, pressin on the buttons,
Hopin sumone put my butt on sumthin
That I can get a cut on, I'nt no slut
What slugz execs for coupons. You a pawn?
Hear me yawn, as I get my naked on:
Fuck the industry; Mobad goin indie.
You're a pretty prolific writer. How do you do it? And what's up next for you?
It is sheer brute force. I have a wife and two kids, so to pull myself away from them, and from work, to write every day for 3 - 4 hours, which I do without fail, is just an act of unbridled power. I have the will to do it, so I do it. Plus, if I don't write for a couple days, my brain goes stale and it takes me 4 - 5 days to produce a single line that I'm happy with. Writing for me is a chemical reaction in my body, and if I don't keep those chemicals constantly activated, I go dry inside and I then have to work twice as hard to get them going.
Next for me is No More Pretending in November, a re-mount of Inverse's first play, The Death of Griffin Hunter, in January 2007, and currently I'm writing a play called Me which is about me.
Interview with Kirk Wood Bromley was conducted by Michael Criscuolo September 2006.