matthew abuelo

matthew abuelo
matthew abuelo

What is your name?

Matthew Abuelo

how would you describe what you do?

Well, I tend to write about those things that are usually swept under the rug or ignored by writers and the media at large. Things like the poor being pushed out in the streets. Greed: especially from landlords, politicians, corporations and so on. I also focus much of my work on people who are written off as “crazy”. As a fiction writer and poet that’s where I find most of my material. As a journalist, I report about the gentrification of New York City.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my third manuscript, “The News Factory (notes from a dying city)” It’s a collection of poetry and short fiction. As I said, most of it is about those who spend most of their time as shadows or in the background but who are really and truly brilliant. If this was 46 years ago, you’d find them in Andy Warhol’s factory. There are a few tributes to people who have passed on or are just heroes of mine.
What has had the greatest influence on your work?

Life in general, subway rides. You know it’s amazing what you can find by just watching those around you or eavesdropping on this or that conversation. But living in an SRO (Single Room Occupancy) has been a major source of my work. There is no pretension in those places, just a wonderful naked madness which has helped my work.

What is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

I’ve been told that I write like the Beats. It’s funny, because I could have seen it ten years ago but I’ve expanded my focus and style since then but I still can’t get away from that label. I also have to say that I rather identify more with those like Lydia Lunch or Jim Carroll, when he was still alive, or Patti Smith. Don’t get me wrong I like the work of the Beats but I just don’t see myself writing like them.

What do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

I think that writing is still the most expressive of all the art forms in the sense that it relies more heavily on details. There really is no room to skim over this or that aspect of subject matter.

With painting, all you really need is a single symbol or figure to get a point across while in film, there are too many ways to leave out the fine details of whatever it is you’re trying to say and yet get your point across. I think film is too much on the surface as far as messages go, and is more open to being preachy, which I can’t stand. With writing, details are of the utmost importance to the medium. That one must go below the surface to really get across whatever it is you’re trying to say. I guess painting requires the same discipline as does sculpture.

The problem with writing though is that you have too many bad writers. This is especially true when it comes to poetry. Anyone nowadays believes all you have to do is sit down and “express yourself” and suddenly you’re a writer, as if there are no rules, no discipline or structure. I don’t believe enough people really study the art before doing it. Then there is the problem with academic writers whose work I find to be just plain boring and self-indulgent.   I find that most of these cats write in bubbles and never have anything worthwhile to say.

How has technology impacted upon the work you do?

The internet now allows anyone with a book and an internet connection to publish their work. Now, with so many books and so on being out there, it is harder than ever to find a way to really get noticed without a cheap schtick. On the other hand, it is easier to find more places to submit your work and keep in touch with like-minded writers. So it’s been a double edged sword.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

Learn your art then go off and write what you know. Try and find your own voice. Write about those around you.

Where can we find you online?

You can find my work at

Or find my first two books at

What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished “Entrapment”, a collection of stories by Nelson Algren.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Some Patti Smith, the Velvet Underground. I’ve really got back into listening to guitar music, Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons and Eric Johnson for example.

Anything else we should know?
The book “The News Factory” should be out in 2010. Right now I’m still adding one or two more pieces and then it has to be edited. I also need to find an agent and publishing house.

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