Let’s talk about me for a minute: Poetry + Robert Mondavi Edition
I wonder if people noticed that one of the three categories in which this post is classified is a brand-new one. That would be the “Craven self-promotion” tag–something we’ve probably needed here for a long time, and which I hope all the contributors will feel inclined to make use of, as needed. That said, wanting to direct your attention to this first thing isn’t actually all that craven. I’ve written an essay for the Poetry Foundation, “A Dog Days Reading List: five books of poetry as hot as the sun.” Titles discussed are: The Wonderfull Yeare (a shepherd’s calendar) by Nate Pritts, Fort Red Border by Kiki Petrosino, Sum of Every Lost Ship by Allison Titus, The Drunk Sonnets by Daniel Bailey, and Mean Free Path by Ben Lerner. Eight poems from four of the five books are posted with the essay (dunno what happened with Titus, but you can read some of her work here) for your sampling pleasure.
Okay, second thing. Have you seen the July issue of Bookslut? Among its many treasures, there’s a great review of Ben Mirov’s Ghost Machine, an interview with Rae Armantrout, and–here it comes–a long interview with me, by Mark Doten. It’s a little hard to articulate just how excited I am about this, and why, but I’ll give it a shot. In the version of my own biography that I tell to myself, the start of my career as a “real” writer is marked by the first piece I wrote for Bookslut, an interview with Dennis Cooper published in February 2005. Dennis and I would wind up becoming frequent co-conspirators, and friends, and lately press-mates, but at the time he was just this guy whose books I was in love with, who had actually agreed to talk to me. Looking over the “Articles by Justin Taylor” on Bookslut, it occurs to me that (1) I haven’t written anything for them in over two years, which is inexcusable, and (2) that pretty much all the people I spoke to on their behalf–and several of those I reviewed–wound up becoming friends and/or colleagues in some capacity. Even five years ago Bookslut had a long rich history–without its trailblazing and its model, a site like GIANT would almost certainly not exist–and they should be commended for their ongoing commitment and apparently perpetual vitality. So that’s why it’s a special moment for me to find myself on the other side of the interview on their website, and why I hope you will go read it. Also, if I do say so myself, the piece is awesome. Mark Doten is a good friend, an incredible writer, a wise reader, and a savvy interviewer–what I mean by this last remark is that he was smart enough to get me drunk, and decent enough to get at least as drunk as I got.