Rauan: When we chatted in person you mentioned that a big part of your outrageous onstage persona is a pushback against over-serious readers (performers of their own poetry, I mean) who, as you said, have absolute “no sense of humor.” Can you talk a bit more about these “serious” readers and your more “fun” and outrageous style then as a kind of antidote?
Evan: Poets are often outrageously arrogant and self-important, blaming readers if they don’t enjoy the work. What a cop-out. That grave delivery of words from a podium: is it any wonder most people don’t read poetry? I prefer poetic rock stars (though they can be just as arrogant). I’d rather be humble in person and outrageous during readings. I maintain that level of performance and spectacle to give the audience a multi-sensory experience. I want them to leave feeling gratified that they came to see it, hear it, not just read it. I want them to see costumes, hear me sing the disturbing pop lyrics I’ve brought attention to on the page, and occasionally eat whatever curious thing I set out for them.
RK: your books (The Midnight Channel and Skin Job) are filled with monsters and slasher film victims (final girls, or in a few instances, boys) but for me what stands out most is an experience and atmosphere of exuberance and glee. Are the books, then, just like yr reading performances, meant to be “fun” also??
EJP: Yes, absolutely! I feel that if I had fun writing a piece, many readers will have that fun reading it. Without an element of camp and glee, poetry (especially work as dark as mine) quickly becomes an exercise in despair, punishing the audience. I do love Sylvia Plath’s bombastic technicolor despair, but I don’t want to be an icy, detached poet, that arrogant “fuck you, dear reader” poet. I hate that guy. I want my reader to tap-dance with me through the haunted children’s hospital.
November 20th, 2013 / 6:29 pm
Seattle’s Cheese & Wine Poetry Community / The Cult of Henry Darger / etc / etc / (talking with Rebecca Loudon)
Rauan: Seattle’s a polite town. Everyone’s super polite, cordial, in a way, cool in their dealings. But not so warm all the time. Seldom even maybe. What do you think of this? And do you think Seattle’s writing (poetry, etc, whatnot) suffers and/or benefits from a similar sort of politeness? Coolness?
Rebecca: Seattle used to be considered a “friendly” town but Seattle grew up and is now a Big City. Seattle suffers from a kind of passive/aggression. I’ve seen people at six way stops get out of their cars and start fighting over who goes first. We also have a lot of homeless displaced people here but they are mostly ignored or hidden so the city will look prettier. Seattle is famous for leading the way in cutting down its carbon footprint but the city’s largest private employer makes airplanes. No one (at least publicly) acknowledges how jet fuel which emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an alarming rate contributes to the acceleration of global warming. And yet you can no longer get paper or plastic bags at Seattle stores because it’s bad for the environment.
Seattle writers are friendly among themselves those writers who write similar poems those writers who are polite whose poems are polite whose work doesn’t take risks whose poems are widely published in polite poetry journals. It’s an easy place to be a poet. You can’t swing a contrabassoon without hitting a poetry reading in Seattle. This city has supported poetry on buses poetry readings for the city council poetry readings in museums and offers all kinds of grants and opportunities to poets who write polite non-threatening poetry. Sometimes Seattle gets lucky and brings in outside poets to read but mostly it’s the same circle of poets making the rounds being passive aggressively nice with their nice natural fiber clothes their hybrid cars their little hemp bags in which to put their shopping and their polite nice poetry.
Okay, so that was the first part of my latest Seattle Author Spotlight, the 11th, featuring Rebecca Loudon. Several years I did an interview with Rebecca regarding her excellent book Cadaver Dogs (which you can read here, it contains info about her being a violinist as well as some of the very personal elements of that book) but this time I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca in person. Rebecca claims to be a sort of hermit, but we got along great, intensities coming and going. And Rebecca’s work as I’m finding out is getting stranger and stronger READ MORE >
November 5th, 2013 / 10:52 am