'A lyrical pilgrimage'

Adrian Gomez, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
·2 min read

Feb. 28—Like many artists, John Biscello's life was upended with the pandemic.

Work slowed to a halt, making for a new way to create.

The Taos-based writer began to deal with an influx of inspiration, which produced poetry.

"All I wanted to do since I was little was to be a writer," he says. "As the words kept coming, I kept up with it and created."

Biscello never imagined that the poetry would go anywhere — but it did.

His first publisher reached out to him and asked if he had any poetry for an anthology.

"At first I said 'No,' " Biscello says. "Then I remembered that I spent the better part of 2020 writing poetry."

The end result is the anthology "Moonglow on Mercy Street."

Biscello says the 50 poems — about 90% written in 2020 — comprise a kaleidoscopic palette of tones, moods and styles in crafting living mythology from the world at large and within.

Metamorphic bop, scat-alchemy, bare bones blues and gospel, love songs and odes, pagan pop and cinematic remixes make of "Moonglow on Mercy Street" a free-range concert aimed at the imagination and the senses, he says.

"And, as a lyrical pilgrimage fueled by hope and wonder, it stands as a shining testament to Henry Miller's claim that 'One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things,' " he says.

During the months at home, Biscello had the time to be productive with energy.

"I'm not writing explicitly about the pandemic," he says of the poetry. "It's an outgrowth or offshoot of what is happening and the feeling in the tone of the year. I think the pandemic did inspire or influence the poems. What I want to convey is compassion and mercy. We're all doing our best to navigate through this. We have to remember that a lot of amazing things happened in 2020 alongside some very dark times."

Biscello wrote the majority of the poetry in the morning because he needs the quiet.

When it came to whittling down his poetry to 50 for the collection, it was easy.

"I went through and chose intuitively," he says. "I've gotten better with that. If I'm in the zone, I can finish quickly. This was one project where I listened to what was flowing out of me. If it wasn't for the pandemic, I wouldn't have had the time for a project like this. The seeds have been planted and artists have had time to cultivate. I can't wait to see what genius comes in the next five to 10 years."