Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I did a quick little interview with the Collagist about the poem they published a couple months back, "After the Piano," and about poetry in general. Here's an excerpt:

What role does absence play in your poetry, in your titles? A whole piano seems removed from the room in this piece, grooves in the carpet, chord held and diminishing : “hanging suspended on the chord//like a blade,” before the piece even begins. Does absence play a different kind of white-space-role for you? How do you hope your readers grapple with vacancy? 
“A whole piano seems removed” is a beautiful way to think about writing. Mention a piano in a poem and the reader is forced to confront the absence of piano! I don’t believe in “No ideas but in things” (ideas are things!), but things in poems create things in your mind and those stand in contrast to the “actual” things outside your mind, and I like that doubling/shadowing. (Poetry makes nothing happen my ass.) I don’t think of this absence as white space. Thought space is clear and in color at the same time. Anyway, you’ve discovered something in the poem I didn’t realize was there – the poem ends up being about absence (“the difference between something and nothing,” the missing brother), but I wasn’t conscious of the way the missing piano sort of primes you to the idea of vacancy.

Thanks to Melissa Goodrich for her smart questions!

And now for some totally unrelated complaints and random thoughts:

* This is a sentence I read today (in Esquire): "Lena Dunham and Adele and Lady Gaga and Amy Adams are all perfectly plain, and they are all at the top of their field." Wha? Lena Dunham may be "plain," but Adele and Amy Adams are both pretty beautiful, no? Even if Adele is more plus-sized than the ladies who usually grace magazine covers, she totally looks like a star. (I don't actually know what Lady Gaga looks like under all the makeup and costuming, but "plain" is a weird way to describe her given the givens.) The sentence before that one was "And women no longer need to be beautiful in order to express their talent." Um, women never needed to be beautiful to "express their talent." But yeah, if you're talented and beautiful, it's much more likely that you'll get stupid famous.

* I saw about ten (non-consecutive) minutes of You've Got Mail at the gym yesterday evening, and in three (non-consecutive) scenes, there was prominent placement of a box of Kleenex (not just any store-brand tissues but the classic brown swirly box, brand name visible). In at least one of these scenes "Kleenex" was mentioned by name. This is part of why I hate movies. The product placement isn't even incidental, it's often the driving force of the whole movie. That said, I saw Life of Pi this weekend and aside from the (dumb) present-day framing narrative, it mostly took place on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and as such was free of product placement, and visually super-stimulating. Also, tigers are sublime.

* Apparently Sterling Pierce, the company that usually prints Tyrant Books' titles, is refusing to print Marie Calloway's novel on the basis of its content. I mean, what?! Do printers usually read the books before they print them? I can only imagine this means it contains pornographic pictures, diagrams, videos ... is it a pop-up book? What is going on?!


  1. Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure she's in her twenties.

    2. Rothschild porn: child porn that hits the jackpot

    3. don't think so... just got that American Apparel vibe...

  2. My experience with printers is that they do pay attention to what they print, and it only makes sense. Printing something illegal (child pornography the most lurid example) is one concern, but printers are businesses; they wouldn't want to print something that would lose clients. The printers who did New Genre #3 - 6 use our magazine as a sample of their work. I'm sure they read it before they handed it out to potential clients. I was told they hung up the cover in their office.

    For that matter, what sort of person gets into printing? Probably people who have some interest in the printed word. Maybe even learned, literate folk. Printers aren't giant photocopy machines.