My latest interview is with poet Mario Theadore Canto who was born in Los Angeles, California on April 21, 1988. Much of his poetry is influenced by the socioeconomic and cultural landscapes of his time. Mario’s work calls into question the essence of humanity itself, often times featuring themes that revolve around the human experience. Philosophical with a touch of cheeky wit, his works was designed to create laughter, longing, and concern for a more unified union of people.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Mario Canto was exposed to the many problems of living in the inner city ghetto. His own father passed away at a young age as result of dealing drugs. In March of 2006, Canto’s mother passed away due to breast cancer which left him with a pain that he would make great efforts to understand. He moved in with his aunt Rochelle Ponds of whom shouldered him at no cost. School was never a strong point for him, almost always earning mediocre grades just to scrape by. Graduating from Los Angeles High School just three months later in June of 2006, Canto moved forward with the promises he made his mother stating, “A man’s word is only as strong as he is.” In 2007 he moved again but of his own volition, with the great philosopher John Coleman of whom would help him graduate from West Los Angeles Community College in 2008. Originally, Mario Canto would write poems and lose track of them but John Coleman encouraged him to collect his works because of their content. Spending an entire year trying to be “free,” Mario Canto moved from one small town to the next throughout 2008 to 2009 where he would find himself between a “rock and a hard place.” While on his journey, he had been admitted into the University of California, Santa Barbara. Starting in the summer of 2009, he would be the first person in his family to finish with his Bachelors of Arts Degree in English Literature in the summer of 2010, exactly one year while abroad in Paris, France claiming, “If you hate school enough, you will get through it as quick as possible and save yourself a few dollars and a headache. Or just not go at all if it won’t benefit you.” He continues to write poetry and promises the release of a novel in the near future.
Books & Writing: Since when have you been writing Poetry?
Mario Theadore Canto: I first began writing poetry in the 10th grade. I grew up poor so I couldn’t buy a “crush” any flowers or balloons on Valentines Day so I wrote a poem about how pretty I thought she was. I didn’t think it was that deep as much as it was honest.
Books & Writing: Where do you get the inspiration for the poems from?
Mario Theadore Canto: I get inspiration from the part of all people that reminds them that they are human, the heart. I grew up in Los Angeles, California and it seems that everyone wants to have an opinion without ever truly understanding one another.
Books & Writing: When did you start working on “Dancing With Disillusion”?
Mario Theadore Canto: It started in 2007. I made it my job to save my poems for this purpose.
Books & Writing: What can people expect when they read the book?
Mario Theadore Canto: People can expect the truth for once. Although my poems seem bold and even harsh at times, it is littered in a grand light called hope. People should expect to read something real. Life is not all good and all bad. The more people drink, the more these poems can be accepted and appreciated. People should expect to relate to these poems if they are honest with themselves
Books & Writing: Are you always working on new poems?
Mario Theadore Canto: No. I only write when I am in the mood or if something inside me tell me to push forward with it. Most shitty poems are produced under obligation. I have none.
Books & Writing: Is there a new book in the making?
Mario Theadore Canto: My novel is done but I will not release it until I finish editing it (So it may take a while).
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Mario Theadore Canto: Amazon.com has a really good preview section.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Mario Theadore Canto: Be honest about your shit. I’ve had it up to my neck reading garbage in college and from other writers that write because they want to impress. Take it to the next level.
I want to thank Mario for taking the time to answer my questions and wish him all the best!