Author Q & A with Brian Yapko
November 23, 2021
This week’s Q & A is with Brian Yapko. Brian is a lawyer who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his husband, Jerry, and their canine child, Bianca. His piece appearing in the Autumn 2021 issue of The Good Life Review is a poem titled “Truth at the Delicatessen.”
We asked Brian to tell us some unique or surprising detail about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of his poem.
His Response: “Truth at the Delicatessen” springs from my experiences in the 1990s working as a pro bono lawyer for gay men. I had the unbelievably sad task of writing up wills for men in their 20s and 30s who had contracted AIDS and were dying. For many of these men the worst thing they had to do was tell their parents and families. Those were terrible days which have never quite left me.
Expanding on that thought with the next question regarding what writing the poem taught him about himself or craft or life in general he wrote: Through writing this poem I felt I was able to honor a number of young men who never saw 40 but who accepted their fates with courage and even a touch of gallows humor.
We also asked Brian what fuels his desire to write.
His response: I must have a voice! As someone who has practiced law for many years I have a long history of trying to be persuasive. When it comes to poetry and stories I get to persuade people – not to vote guilty or innocent – but to look at a situation or idea or person in a new way. Helping people consider things from another angle – including myself – is hugely satisfying. That’s how compassion is born.
And finally, one of the questions we asked all contributors to respond to is what they think of when they hear the phrase “The Good Life?”
Brian’s Response: “The Good Life” to me means being content in who I am, who I’m with and what I do. I’m not concerned about wealth or property or power or prestige. I’m talking about having the best husband I could have ever hoped for. I’m talking about a canine child named Bianca who we rescued and who, in turn, rescued us. Health. Friends, I am beyond grateful for what I have in my life. When I think of “The Good Life” I think how fortunate I am that this is precisely what I have.
Brian’s poems have appeared in many literary journals and publications including Tofu Ink, Sparks of Calliope, KAIROS, Gyroscope Review, Penumbra, the Society of Classical Poets, Grand Little Things, Chained Muse, and elsewhere. His first novel – El Nuevo Mundo – is going to be published by Rebel Satori Press in the Summer of 2022. It is a gay themed science fiction story with an apocalyptic background which takes place in his home town of Santa Fe, New Mexico in the year 2062.
Thanks, Brian, for being a part of our 5th issue and for participating in this Q & A!
~The Good Life Review Team