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Poet Michael Demyan’s pot philosophy

7 min read Michael Demyan shares his thoughts on poetry and how cannabis and creativity are linked.

The post Poet Michael Demyan’s pot philosophy appeared first on Flowertown.

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7 min read

Michael Demyan is a wandering poet, who has lived in California, New York, Spain and now Vermont, where he received his MFA in English. Born in rural North Eastern Pennsylvania, Demyan left to pursue theatre, poetry and visual art.

He co-founded Denim Skin Magazine, a literary publication in New York that had a distinct beat poetry, underground bent and championed voices not heard in mainstream publishing. Demyan’s poetry evokes love and pain in America, with such lines as, “where people claimed impossible/lunatics forged into the void/more paper after kisses and dishes rinsed/he looks for work unsuccessfully makes phone calls/thinks of what poems would be.”

In addition to seeking truths about love, time, and the subconscious, Demyan has explored the hard-drinking roots of his hometown and experienced varying degrees of legalization of cannabis in both California and Vermont. The relationship between art and mind-altering substances has long been linked. Demyan breaks down some of the roots of this, while practicing a more conscious and intentional connection between creativity and cannabis.

Flowertown-Poet-Michael-Demyans-pot-philosophy--Article-1

He has work forthcoming in Hunger Mountain and is working on a collection of experimental Portuguese translations.

We spoke with Demyan about his early exposure to poetry & pot, growing up with drinking culture in rural America, cannabis laws in Vermont, more intentional imbibing and poems as universal expression.

Q

Did your early experiences with poetry and your early experiences smoking cannabis have anything in common?

A

I got into poetry before I got into weed. I smoked weed a bit in college here and there, but I preferred drinking, I felt like it could take me longer into the night. It wasn’t until I started dating a girl in New York in my mid-twenties and she was kind of a stoner. Then the girl I dated after that was kind of a stoner.


Q

So, you have a type.

A

Yeah. So, I guess it’s been part of my lifestyle for a while. But early poetry, I remember getting really into the Romantics when I was late teens moving out of high school into college. In undergrad, I had a friend who turned me on to a lot of great poets and that’s when I started to grow. Because I had gone to school to do theatre, which I did end up finishing. But I got really into Percy Shelley, Keats and Poe’s poetry. I don’t think Edgar Allen Poe gets enough credit as a poet. Then combining substances and poetry, Rimbaud is very into that.


Q

I’d love to know more about where you grew up. It seems to me like whether it’s poetry or acting, or pot later you’re on a quest to expand horizons and enter into different worlds and ways of thinking.

A

I’m always looking for new. I love to learn. That could be anything, like learn some new math school or learn some silly fact from word of the day toilet paper. I grew up in a really small community. Most people don’t really leave the region in North Eastern P.A. It can be rather conservative to moderate at best. I definitely grew up with a fear of the police and scared off any recreational substances. I remember being really terrified, like if I smoked weed, I was the worst person on the planet.


Q

Do you think some of you being younger and preferring drinking was because it was just more culturally acceptable?

A

Oh, absolutely. That’s pretty heavy where I come from.


Q

I have a history with drinking, but I do think it’s so much more damaging and so much more endemic in America and such a bigger health and mental health problem. So, it’s interesting that there’s so much less stigma around alcohol, when really, I think weed is healthier.

A

You know, I have that same conversation when I go back home. My family history has alcoholism and my relationship with alcohol is definitely changing. I haven’t had a drink this whole calendar year thus far. I’m in a pretty sober phase with herb too. Not that I’m not using it, as you get older these things have a different effect on you.

When I was in New York in my mid-twenties I was staying up late smoking joints, drinking beers and writing. I couldn’t do that now. I’d be passed out by 10:30.

Q

That’s cool. A lot of people I talk to are talking about using substances in a more conscious way. So, you’re just very aware of what you’re imbibing, what you’re getting into and what your limits are.

A

Absolutely. We don’t really have any shops here in Vermont, but there’s one little drive-thru in Massachusetts I go to once in a while, it’s about a three-hour haul. It’s really great to be able to talk to someone there about strains, what I’m looking for, explain how I usually behave. It’s like going to a bar and talking to your bartender, saying this is what I usually drink.


Q

What is your actual regulatory roll out in Vermont?

A

July 2018 I remember someone was trying to get a bunch of people to go sit on the statehouse lawn in Montpellier and light joints up. I don’t think it ever came to fruition. They legalized it so you can own it and you can grow it, but you can’t buy or sell. So, you gotta go on the black market if you want to buy it. I think you can have two mature plants per person, per household.


Q

Do you know anyone who is growing?

A

I know a few people.


Q

Do you know what their experience has been like?

A

I know it’s a lot of grass that comes down from the North East Kingdom. A lot of them are just letting it grow wild. I know one person who has a grow room set up. I guess that would technically be considered illegal. I know there’s a town called Plainfield where they have a hemp farm and they are filming a reality television show there. I’ve briefly encountered some people involved and some of them are stoked to be on it and some of them are like, ‘the documentary thing is weird, I don’t want to work there.’ CBD products have really taken over. So, all the cafes are like, ‘come get CBD in your coffee.’

Q

I think that’s nationwide. In Arizona, they sell CBD gummies at the gas station.

A

Around this time last year, I cut out alcohol and sugars. I live out here like thirty minutes from town. So, I was just holed up, smoking a lot of Sativa and kind of had my “The Shining” moment like staring at ice fishing holes. Then I cooled off and started looking into more CBD stuff and was kind of disappointed. I was like, I need a whole jar of this just to chill out?


Q

Yeah, there are brands that are better than others. You have to do research.

A

Yeah, and smoking for me has become really intentional. Like okay, I am going to set aside this time. I’m not driving into town like, let me pack a bowl for the ride.


Q

You spent time in California too.

A

Oh yeah, I lived in L.A. briefly when it was medicinal, and my roommate was much older than me. He was a musician in the ‘50s and had a medical card. I practice Buddhism and he was the first person, that’s how I encountered that. He would be like chanting in his room in the morning and I could just feel it. I was always up a bit earlier than him. I was in the kitchen cooking breakfast and started cooking on this pan that was already greased up. My roommate came out and was like, what are you up to today? And I was like, I don’t know man, I just ate breakfast and I feel like I took some drugs. He was like, “Oh, you used the weed pan.”


Q

Sounds like you spent this time in your twenties in New York and California being wild and writing a ton. What is your writing journey now, especially using cannabis in a more intentional way?

A

Since I’ve been in Vermont, I’ve produced easily twice the amount of work as I did in New York. I’ve got five poetry manuscripts and my visual art is something I’ve been diving into. Doing a lot of collages, those are moments when I’m going through a magazine, if I’m a little high just unconsciously tearing images out is nice. A lot of my work deals with the subconscious. I’m really influenced by the Surrealists. I’m getting back into photography and acting. So really a lot of progress up here, though sometimes I wish I could just get off the train in Jamaica Station and be surrounded by everything.


Q

What would you say are the subjects you are most obsessed with in your art?

A

Time, consciousness, love, I feel like every poem is a love poem. I’m on a quest for the truth. I think it’s about trying to create a universal experience and I’m just trying to tap into that connection.

Source: https://www.flowertown.com/culture/michael-demyans/

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Republished by Plato

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Republished by Plato

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Republished by Plato

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