by Lorie Lewis Ham
KRL interviews a lot of artists and writers and during Pride Month we especially like to highlight those in the LGBTQ+ community. This week we are interviewing local poet Aidan Castro. Aiden grew up in Dinuba and recently graduated from Fresno State.
KRL: When did you first start writing poetry?
Aiden: I was actually having this conversation with my parents recently. I started writing poetry at a fairly young age. I would say I was around seven or eight. When it was first taught to me in elementary school, I kind of just ran with it.
KRL: Why did you choose to get an MFA in poetry? You just graduated with that, correct?
Aiden: That’s right, I just graduated with my MFA in creative writing. I’ve used poetry as my outlet for my emotions for as long as I can remember. When I first came out as Transgender, it was the only way I could verbalize my thoughts and struggles. I never considered pursuing an MFA in poetry until I took an advanced poetry writing class during my undergrad at Fresno State.
David Dominguez’s class had the foundation of Fresno and central valley poets. Poetry turned into a passion, and I knew I wanted to develop my written voice. I consulted Mr. Dominguez during his office hours, and he basically told me that an MFA program would be the best place to continue strengthening my writing. I picked Fresno State because of the long line of amazing poets that come out of there. Also, the faculty are amazing.
KRL: Please share about your Master’s thesis “Anesthetic back from ten.” What is it about?
Aiden: “Anesthetic Back from Ten” brings transgender issues to the forefront that are normally thrown to the back of the mind or villainized in the media. It covers grief in its multitude of forms; grief from the loss of family members, from being unhappy in the body you are given, and the grief from a world that does not accept transgender people for who they are.
KRL: I think that is amazing. How long did it take you to put it together?
Aiden: I’ve been working on it for four years. I would say that my vision for my Master’s thesis has been there since my undergraduate days. A few of the poems had their roots grown in my undergraduate workshops.
KRL: Why did you choose this focus for your thesis?
Aiden: I think visibility is very important. I’m a transgender man, and that puts me in a community of people that are constantly silenced by the outside world. I feel the need to bring perspective to an outside audience that may not always be accepting. There are a lot of anti-transgender laws that are being introduced, and I think by writing about it, it gives a face to who these laws effect. Hopefully, it makes people second guess their standpoints.
I’m from a small agricultural town, and that in itself is rough when trying to figure out your identity. I also lost a lot of family in the past few years, and that changed my perspective on life too. I’m paying respect to my family who I have lost along the way. I like to think I keep my family alive when I put them on the page.
KRL: What are the themes of the poetry?
Aiden: I would have to say a lot of it is about acceptance of the self, grieving loss of family, grieving the lack of acceptance from others, coping with having a body that is constantly politicized and villainized in media, and the struggles of being a queer kid in a small conservative town. It all kind of melts together. The thesis lives in its truth unapologetically.
KRL: Has any of your poetry been published?
Aiden: I’ve had a few poems published in Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets, San Joaquin Review, and on Poets.org.
KRL: What are your future goals with your poetry?
Aiden: I would like to get my Master’s thesis published as its own book. I’m also still writing; I’m already working towards my next project. I think writing poetry is something I’m going to be doing my whole life.
KRL: What is next for you now that you have graduated?
Aiden: The great job hunt! I’m currently looking for adjunct positions to teach English composition.
KRL: We wish you all the best in publishing and the job hunt! Anything else you would like to share?
Aiden: You can find me on twitter and Instagram under the username @poetryghost5 !
KRL: Would you be willing to share one of your poems with us?
Aiden: Sure! This one hasn’t been published anywhere else.
Blue, pink, and white forever and ever. Amen.
Do not disappear
between erased fingertips,
and do not forgive law for
taking us out of sight.
Give us biweekly injections,
in cottonseed oil.
Provide capacity to fight off
transphobia from news outlets,
To bind and pack,
bruises under arms and ribs,
acne and grungy hair.
For needles and flags,
the masc, the femme,
deliver us from chasers,
keep us alive.
Cherish these pulsing veins.
Check out more local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And if you love theatre don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where you can hear local actors bring to life mystery short stories and first chapters!