David E. Navarro is an author, poet, essayist, scholar, and minister who lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and family—or as he says, “…a wandering minister who loves Zen, poetry, and helping people reconnect with God, nature, and a greater sense of self and purpose.” Navarro grew up on the Southside of Chicago, to age ten when his family moved to rural Crown Point, IN. There he learned to enjoy nature, free to roam in fields of swaying grass and wooded copses rich with ponds and swamps. He went off to college at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN to study literature and the arts. His first collection of poetry was published in 1980 in the Purdue Exponent Literary Edition, Winter Issue.
He left college to enlist in the United States Air Force where he served for ten years and in three conflicts. He had the opportunity to live in the United Kingdom for his second tour where he travelled Europe and earned a degree in Communications. He separated with an honorable discharge and entered a Biblical Studies program where he completed a degree in Theology and served 35 years in the ministry as a Biblical research teacher and minister in various assignments all over the U.S.
He writes about and teaches life and time management, quality of life, work-life balance, writing and communication, Zen, mindfulness, and Biblical keys to living prosperously, peacefully, and powerfully. He returned to Purdue University Global and completed a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in the arts and humanities. His final thesis chronicled the far-reaching ramifications and impact of haiku on the Western world. Over the years, his poems, essays, and articles have been published in various magazines, literary journals, books, anthologies, and online. He plans to write, publish, and educate for the rest of his life.
Tell me more about your latest book
A Tree Frog’s Eyes is an exciting journey, a detailed adventure through the wondrous world of nature right in the hands of the reader. Because of the nature of haiku, readers can engage in a way that takes them right to the times, places, events, and scenes of human life and nature and gives them an opportunity to finish the event in their minds, and experience it in their imaginations. As a bonus, haiku poets will love the book because the Foreword gives a detailed explanation of what haiku is and how it is constructed with the classic elements and essence of haiku which originated in ancient China and more recently in Japan.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
Pulling it and putting it all together from an adventure and journey of 40 years of writing haiku, studying it, and writing about it. It is the culmination of my life’s work to this point. Although I am a published poet many times over, I have given no other form or style of poetry more time in study and practice than haiku. Haiku has always been at the core of my work. Finally making up my mind to pull out all the old notes and journals and put together a book that encapsulates 40 years of roaming around as a philosopher-poet and minister—that was the challenging task before me. But it was a joy to put together.
What is your normal procedure to get your books published?
First, I submit work to many different magazines, journals, and anthologies, and some choose to publish various poems, haiku, or articles. But when I decide it is time to put together a comprehensive volume or collection, I choose to publish it myself through my independent imprint, NavWorks Press. The main reason is that as an independently-minded artistic person who thinks way outside the box, I am extremely particular about the outcome or final product of my art. I view a book as a work of art (in itself) from cover to cover including front matter, layout, design, illustrations, quirky hidden nuggets, and more. If you think about it, an artist does not get some other company to paint for them, or sculpt their masterpiece for them. They make it, they are the artist, no one can do their art for them. The entire finished book is a singular work of art to me, like a single painting or sculpture, something that only the artist can craft, design, put together, and then put out there for the world to enjoy.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good writing varies with category, genre, purpose, and theme. It is obvious prose will differ from poetry. Prose is meant to be read once to receive its clear message or information. It can be read again, but its design is to communicate clearly to the reader so the reader can receive. Prose should be written clearly, logically, and actively. Poetry, on the other hand, is not intended to be read once. Too many people are impatient with poetry and expect to simply just get the information from it when they read it once, like prose. NO. It is not like that. Poetry requires engagement from the reader, immersion, imagination, and multiple approaches. A reader must read it again and again on different days, just like a song or music. You don’t listen to a musical piece or song one time and then never again. You listen to it again and again and enjoy it and it grows on you. You see more, hear more in it with repetition. Poetry must be read like this. Poetry should be written in vivid imagery, it is layered, it uses poetic devices—especially metaphor, it deviates from grammar and punctuation, it is often purposefully ambiguous, it is crafted to please with its musical word soundscapes. Haiku is even more brief but powerful, and the important elements of haiku include concepts which I handle in the Foreword of the book and which would take too long to explain here.
How many books have you written so far?
I have written 8 books and compiled 2 other collections, in descending order:
A Tree Frog’s Eyes, 2020, my “tour de force” haiku
In the Praise of His Glory, 2020, poems and biblical notes
Archway to Beyond, 2019, academic project of haiku, haibun, poetry, prose
Early Childhood Learning: An Instruction Focused Framework for Ongoing Assessment, 2019, early childhood learning educational guide
This Is the Way: Walk Ye in It, 2018, biblical research studies and poems
Dropping Ants into Poems, 2017, literary essays and poems
Sometimes Anyway, 2016, a compilation of 39 poets
Dare to Soar, 2013, life essays and poems
Between Life and Language, 2009, a compilation of 107 poets
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Well, in one sense, it has taken me over 40 years to write a number of my books because I have read and studied many fields and taken notes, lived the adventure of life and written poems, stories, journal notes, ideas, observations, and on. I draw from all of this for every one of my books. But to actually write the finalized manuscript and put the book together takes anywhere from over two years to just one month. Between Life and Language took almost two years, Dare to Soar took almost three years, Dropping Ants into Poems took 45 days (written during National Poetry Month as a challenge), and A Tree Frog’s Eyes took 30 days to compile, but contains almost 40 years of writing and notes.
How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?
To become a well-known, bestselling author is incredibly hard from the perspective that few are chosen by the publishing establishment to be marketed and exposed to a maximum audience. Those that are chosen have no more of a difficult task before them in writing and producing more books than the plethora of little-known, minimally successful authors and writers. Some celebrities have an easy time writing a few books (with help) that will sell millions because they are already known. But then there are other fields of writing by which professional career writers may be judged. I have been blessed and fortunate to have been able to pursue a professional career in writing for my entire adult life as a tech writer and editor, compliance writer and editor, and research writer and editor. I’ve written compliance and operations manuals, military and government regulations, safety manuals, banking compliance procedures and corrective plans, finance articles, business articles, life-style articles, biblical articles, critical infrastructure protection plans, and now writing as a medical writer in clinical research. I have also enjoyed a successful career as an author and poet getting many things published in many areas and having 10 books to my credit which have all sold well. But it certainly has been hard, took a lot of dedicated work and persistence, and I still have much more to do. I have not yet become a well-known or bestselling author and poet yet, though that is certainly part of my dream, so I’m still on the journey.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
First and foremost, enjoy what you do. Be in love with writing. Write because you have to write to live and breathe and retain your sanity. Write out of an inner compulsion to produce something that others will read and enjoy at some level. Although you write for you first and because you have to, don’t ever adopt the self-defeating attitude that you don’t care if anyone ever reads it or not as long as you get to write. You know you want others to read it and like it. Not necessarily to stroke your ego, but because you want to help, serve, give, entertain and inform others, make their lives better, and you believe what you produce can do that. You can do it. Stick to it, write it, and share it. Keep sharing it. Let it open up the doors for you to an exciting life adventure of being a writer and/or poet.
Visit Author DE Navarro book links:
Author Pages / Websites
https://www.de-navarro.com (being updated)
Social Media Profiles
Poetry & Writing Pages / Blogs
Navarro’s Literary Work Published by Others
https://issuu.com/miracleezine/docs/issue8 [scroll to page 42]
https://www.amazon.com/Black-Winter-Selected-International-Poets/dp/1493675966/ [Look Inside and scroll to page 8]
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