At the Boxcar Poetry Review, you can read Part I of my conversation with poet Ivy Alvarez. Ivy and I conversed by e-mail over the summer of 2007 for the First Book Poets in Conversation interview series. Many thanks to Eduardo and Neil for this. If you would like to read about how our books came into being, go check it out. It really is an interesting dialogue, I think. It's one of the most in-depth conversations about my book that I have had, so thank you, Ivy.
An excerpt, on my use of questions in the book:
I suppose some of the influence (about using questions in the poems) comes from my reading of Milan Kundera, whose blend of fiction and philosophy in books like Slowness and The Unbearable Lightness of Being had an impact on my poems, as well as Pablo Neruda’s books. I admire Residence on Earth and The Book of Questions a great deal, and a few years ago I read The Heights of Machu Picchu while trekking through the Andes Mountains on the Inca Trail. Mostly, though, I am now thinking that the question in the poem serves to give space between other ideas or images. I think about what the Chinese poets call “raising the head” in a poem, that moment of pause, what others would call caesura. I am very conscious of space, pace, and slowness in life in general, and so I guess it makes its way into my poems. The questions sometimes serve that purpose---slowing the poem down and lessening my grip of authority over things. It’s a form of ambiguity, I suppose.
Minneapolis! --next Friday night, January 25, please come to the Loft Literary Center, where I am reading with the amazing Sun Yung Shin and Bryan Thao Worra. Thanks for your support! I hear there's an after-party. For more details, visit The Loft.
It isn't often that I buy a hardback the minute after I read the jacket. It is even more rare that I recommend a memoir, since I'm not sure what you like (and I haven't read the whole book yet). But I would like to introduce Trail of Crumbs, by Kim Sunee. Sunee is a Korean adoptee, adopted at age three and raised in New Orleans. At age 22, she goes to France, where all sorts of interesting things involving a man and food and culture (and other things I'll have to read more to find out about) unfold. Kim is also the founding food editor for Cottage Living and has a blog at her website, kimsunee.com. I wish her the best with her book and her book tour, which just started this month.