Staff Interview–Jason Buel

23 Oct
This is the first post in a series of staff interviews for The PEEL. This will provide you with a brief glimpse of the driving force behind the literary arts magazine at Appalachian State University. Enjoy!
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Jason Buel, Poetry Committee Head

Jason Buel, Poetry Committee Head

Name: Jason W. Buel
Age: 21
Class: Señor
Major: Psychology & English, concentrating in Film Studies

A short bio:

I was born in Sarasota, FL to great triumph and jubilation. It turned out to be for the baby in the incubator next to me, but no matter. Luckily, I don’t remember Reagan.

Then, when I was 5, the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey franchise was founded within an easy drive of my home, so I decided it’d be a good idea to spend the next 16+ years pretending to be a hockey player (it didn’t work out, but don’t tell me that.) I started playing drums at age 6, writing stories at 8, playing guitar at 10, programming games for graphing calculators at 12, and watching far too much television at 14, which happened to be the same year when I moved here to Boone, NC (actually Valle Crucis, but close enough). My front right tooth was broken in half at some point during that time and I have a noticeable fracture line where it was glued back together. Then I came to ASU with the intention of being a music major. You can guess how long that lasted. Most people gain the freshman 15 – I gained the freshman 60.

As of the time I’m writing this, the last band I saw live was The National. The last film I saw was The Year My Parents Went on Vacation directed by a Brazilian fellow whose name is, I kid you not, Cao Hamburger. I suspect his parents were vegetarians with a dark sense of humor. The last thing I read was an interview with Martin Espada from Dr. Bruce Dick’s book A Poet’s Truth. I’m listening to Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks right now because it is the single greatest pop record ever produced. These things are important. Probably.

I love ice cream, Canadian beer, bratwurst, fried chicken, and Mexican food, because I am the picture of perfect health. I also have high blood pressure, but I figure it’ll go away if I just ignore it – most things are like that. I also like writing and recording music, playing with my band (which I think still exists, but not sure about that), watching NASCAR, and really doing anything that requires sitting for long periods of time. I hate working in retail (Kmart, Dollar General, TJ Maxx, who’s next?), standing, dealing with mean people, dealing with people in general since I am extremely awkward, waking up any way other than at my own leisure, and going to sleep earlier than 3ish.

Go Hurricanes!

Interview

What is your role for The PEEL? What are your responsibilities?
JB: I am the head of the Poetry Committee. As such, I critique all of the submitted poems and lead committee meetings to discuss the works and decide what is good enough to make it into the magazine.

What type of writing/artwork are you looking for in regard to your committee?
JB: We want anything that improves on the blank page. Any thoughtful, polished works that can be considered poetry of any kind are welcome (traditional forms, free verse, prose poems, constrained forms, found poems, narrative poems, non-western forms, etc.) To maximize your chances of being published, submit only a few examples of your best writing.

Why did you want to get involved with the literary arts magazine?
JB: Quite frankly, it was outrageous that our university lacked such a publication to begin with. It is crucial, especially for an institution of higher learning and especially in the modern age, to support and promote the arts. ASU also happens to be home to many talented writers who deserve to have their works read.

Why do you feel a literary arts magazine is important to student life?
JB: Students deserve to see the quality work that their peers are producing. Our magazine can also help give writers the initiative to produce more new writing as well as revise and polish older works.

How do you feel new media (websites, blogs, streaming video/audio, etc) is affecting student publications? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
JB: New forms of media are wonderful in and of their own right and also have the benefit of compelling more traditional media to be the best they possibly can be. If I can read about something on a blog the instant it happens and get the facts as well as several individuals’ opinions, why should I read about it the next day in the newspaper? If I can go on youtube and see several different angles of the exact event I want to see just after it’s happened, why watch the evening news? That’s not to say we should abandon traditional media, rather it will be interesting to see how traditional media adapts to the competition from new media and provides answers to such questions.

What are your career goals? What do you see yourself doing in five years?
JB: In five years I will almost certainly still be in school. I’m hoping to get my M.A. and eventually Ph.D. in Film Studies and become a professor one day. This year I’m working as a research assistant to Dr. Kirkpatrick for her book on the poetry of Paula Meehan in the context of rampant development in Ireland. I hope to begin a major research project, as soon as next semester, on audience behavior and the psychology of viewing narrative motion pictures, so I guess it’s a pretty viable career aspiration for me. I hope to take a couple years off along the way and do some humanitarian work in Panama or live on a farm in Quebec or something to that effect.

Do you feel your experience at ASU has prepared you for your chosen career?
JB:
It has certainly been a great start.

If you would like to submit poetry to The PEEL, send an email to thepeel@appstate.edu.

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