Place, image, rhythm, and balance are all integral to poetry. And when it comes to poetry, William Bonfiglio, one of Flyway’s two-prong poetry editorial team, brings a sharp eye and musicality to the table. A trained opera singer, accomplished dramatist and poet, William sat down with me for an interview last week to talk about his reading sensibility and his role as a poetry editor for Flyway
“What I look for in poetry is a strong setting filled with lovely details. What we [Samantha Futhey, Flyway’s second poetry editor] look for is a complete piece, a story that is dependent on place, where place is a character — it should be treated as a fully-developed character. We pride ourselves on the poetry we publish, that it’s complete and polished for publication.”
Before entering Iowa State University, William earned his undergraduate degree at Bucknell University, where he studied with writers Paula Closson Buck and Shara McCallum.
“It was incredibly intimidating to be in that setting,” he said.
After Bucknell, William spent a gap year working the late shift at a supermarket. It’s this time that William says was his most productive writing period: he’d wake each morning and write before heading into his 2 to 9 p.m. shift. During this time William also traveled to Nova Scotia, read numerous poets and prose writers, and spent time in reflection, which solidified his conviction to pursue writing, eventually leading to his enrollment in Iowa State University’s Creative Writing and Environment program.
When asked about his views on environment in writing, William remarks, “When you volunteer for a journal of writing and environment, the stigma is that “environment” has to be some profound or progressive idea, when in fact, environment can be interpreted as simply as the idea of place, and the role that setting plays within inspiring stories and poetry and works of creative nonfiction. Personally, my writing has always been influenced by the place where I grew up, which spans everything from the East Coast to the home in which my parents raised me.”
Both Futhey and William are excited about upcoming content for Flyway. William describes many of the submissions to the magazine as “gifts” and says that it feels good to share these authors with the wider reading world.
So why serve as poetry editor? William remarks that so many writers have low self-esteem and little confidence — and that reading new material for Flyway, and the ability to see a wide scope of great writers, has made him more confident in his own writing.
“As a writer, I’m reading to better myself, to see other approaches by other writers,” he says. “I often ask myself what makes something memorable. I’m after that in my own writing and the writing we publish at Flyway.”
Interview by Taylor Brorby