This month on the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, we are thrilled to present a dynamic conversation with Chicago-based poet and writer Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué, author most recently of the poetry collection Madness (Nightboat Books, 2022). Gabriel was one of our Queer Poem-a-Day poets earlier this year, also featured on our podcast feed, and we are so happy to welcome him back.

Madness takes the form of a book of selected poems by a fictional poet named Luis Montes-Torres (1976-2035) and contains academic and biographical introductions, diaries, and, of course, poems. Remarkably, Ojeda-Sagué simulates the development of a poet over a lifetime (and into the future), through various styles and themes in response to histories both real and imagined, personal and political. Both drawing from and commenting on poetic traditions that explore Latino and queer identity, as well as “eco-poetics” in response to the extraordinary realities of climate change, Madness presents a dizzying variety of artistic gestures. To take a line from one of Montes-Torres’ last poems, this is a project that “implies ambivalence drowned in light.” 

Gabriel is also the author of An Excess of Quiet: Selected Sketches by Gustavo Ojeda, 1979-1989 (Soberscove Press, 2020), which presents the work of his uncle, who was a painter in the New York City 1980s scene, exhibiting with artists like Keith Haring and David Wajnarowicz. In Gabriel’s words, Gustavo Ojeda’s work often blurs the lines “between real and imagined, ordinary and supernatural, the quiet and the loud, the formal and the amateurishly sentimental” — descriptions which could be applied to Gabriel’s project in Madness

We invite you into this very fun conversation about the trap doors and freedoms of poetry, art, and mental health, and our shared obsession with the poet John Ashbery, among many other topics. 

You can check out books by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué here at the library and find out more about his work at ojedasague.com. Gabriel is also the author of Losing Miami (The Accomplices, 2019), which was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry. He is currently a Ph.D. student in English at the University of Chicago where he works in the study of sexuality. 

We hope you enjoy our 55th interview episode! Each month we release an episode featuring a conversation with an author, artist, or other notable guests from Deerfield, Chicagoland, or around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page. You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to [email protected]