1.) Rachel Zucker has a webpage pretty snazzy. I just read Museum of Accidents (Wave Books). This is the first poetry book of motherhood/professor-hood/adult-at-this-age I have P-rused in a long while. Sometimes the poetry I read keeps caterwhomping subjects same. Museum more mature tone/thunk yet no fields/piles of snow o o o and no wine bottles (or very little) god no chats or BRAND NAMES (or very little).
Bam review here!
2.) What is experimental? In poetry, 2010? Is there still someone hiding their secret sex fetish? Someone afraid to wear a lobster as a hat? No. They just do it and talk out loud. What’s my point? How many more books of line cut/jagged enjamb/white space/concrete forms/codpiece/canon-chop/punctuation verve/retro-madness? Look, mama, no ground! How many books, year, decades before we can drop the term experimental? Stop it.
3.) Well, why don’t you fucking interview the author?
Jesus. OK. I wheel (rolling, rolling…). Answers in bold.
Q: It is cold as fuck in Muncie, Indiana. I went out to the front step and a pudgy, yellow envelope was in the snow at an odd angle. I rescued and opened the envelope and it was your book and I thought “What is this?” but I often drink and order books late into the night so shrugged and took your book inside and started reading. It hooked me good. Persona asking me (the reader) questions right off, the speaker told me things, advised me (“The world is a place to buy things./Resist.).
Can you discuss techniques you use as poet to reach off the page, to snatch the reader by the sleeve, to tug a bit closer?
I have no idea.
Q: Is an allusion an expression of hope?
I don’t understand this question. Do you mean, if one alludes to something, is that a hopeful act? Hopeful to whom? In what way? I’m confused.
Q: What is your favorite poem?
This changes everyday. Today I will say, “The Prophet” by Alice Notley.
Q: I am about to quote Woody Allen and lots of people detest him. If you spleen Woody Allen, just ignore this question or maybe pretend I said “Josephine Baker” not “Woody Allen.” Woody Allen said, “Marriage is the death of hope.” Like all quotes, this is a bit easy, but I also think it holds a grain of truth. Your opinion?
I love Woody Allen. Why is marriage the death of hope, though? Hope for what? Sleeping with someone else? Married people sometimes do that. Marrying someone else? Married people sometimes do that too. Maybe marriage is the birth of hope? The birth of the hope of worrying about something else for five minutes. I have a lot of questions about and problems with marriage but I don’t think it’s the “death of hope.” Not for me anyway.
Q: A friend of mine said she saw you in Brooklyn one day drinking a big-ass mug of coffee. How much coffee do you drink a day, and what is your favorite type?
I love coffee but rarely drink it. I doubt it was me that your friend saw. I have recurring insomnia and feel more justified complaining about it when I’m not drinking coffee. I really like how coffee smells. Little tiny cups of espresso. The bitter smell. I do miss coffee…
Q: Is writing a poem enjoyable?
In the past, I’ve felt that the act of writing is a “clean” space — a mental space free of self judgement and outside of the “this is fun” or “this sucks” dichotomy. But, I’d like to work toward feeling pleasure when I write.
Q: When I first emailed you, I received an automated response (Spam Arrest!) with directions on how to verify myself so that my message could reach your computer. This seemed both routine and Orwellian. Your poems I think capture our time well—it seems everything is moving so fast, computer speed fast (Moore’s Law: processors doubling speed every two years, something), and how do we capture our bewildered lives as they blur by? Is this a function of your poetry (or Poetry, in general)?
I’m not sure what the function of poetry is, but I like the idea of poetry helping to slow us down. I’m trying to stop multi-tasking all the time. It’s making me crazy. I find it very difficult to just “be” in the moment or be present in a calm, patient way. I’m not sure if that’s a product of this age or of my temperament. Perhaps I would have felt this if I were living in the Victorian era. I’d always be doing needlework.
Q: Lorrie Moore says having a kid was “an atomic bomb on the village of my life.” I think your poems speak to this, the tension between the self (still selfish) and the expected parental role (selfless?). What do you think?
I love Lorrie Moore. Birds of America is one of two books of short stories that I love (usually I prefer novels). I’ve always aspired to write like her. Yeah, kids change everything. They’re supposed to.
Q: I think you do a lot of really smart and interesting structural things on the page—I mean the page viewed from feet away. The columns, white space, the clumps and shreds and little eyelashes of sentences and words. Is the white space around the words as meaningful as the ink? What is the blankness on the page?
Well, in a very literal way, the white space is what makes the words mean something. It would be almost impossible to understand language iftherewerenospacesbetweenthewords. Is more space more meaningful? Not necessarily, but it does change our understanding or reception of the words and phrases and music.
Q: A friend of mine has spent years developing a Sadness Museum. This is not a question. I just thought you might enjoy. http://www.buckbeeawriter.com/sadnessmuseum/
This is an amazing project. I’ve forwarded the link to many people (and I HATE forwarding things). I now think about this idea all the time.
4.) Hmmm…slap! The poet seemed underwhelmed by my questions. I emailed her and thanked her for answering and said, “Your tone in answering seems to think my questions dumb.” I then said I didn’t mind; I’m sure they are/were dumb. The poet replied she did not think them dumb and I could ask additional questions if I would like. I said, “No, no, that’s not necessary and thank you for your time and the book.” Overall the exchange made me think the poet as kind. (I’m still not convinced my questions were not weak tea/under-tipping.)
5.) My favorite poem in the Museum ended with this word: cocksucker!
I do approve.