Presenting engagements (including reviews) of poetry books & projects. Some issues also offer Featured Poets, a "The Critic Writes Poems" series, and/or Feature Articles.

Saturday, May 2, 2015



Sixty Morning Talks by Andy Fitch
(Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, 2014)

The interview is an underappreciated genre. I think it can be particularly valuable when in the hands of poets, artists, philosophers.  In the case of poets, the interview can take on space between criticism and the poem. At its best, an interview allows a poet to go places s/he might not otherwise go.

Here’s an interesting excerpt from the interview with Bhanu Kapil:

AF: In terms of porous borders, of migrations, I appreciate how one text of yours will trace its origins back to another—for example in how you've described the anti-colonial novel Ban arising from the act of preparing Schizophrene for publication. Amid these intertextual emergences, do you wish for all of your books to touch in some way?

BK: Yes, I think so, though I also wish to write works that feel more sustained.  An orange-red sunrise opens Schizophrene, as the ferry approaches the coast of Great Britain.  These colors introduce gametes. Re-combined, they will become the butterfly at the close of the book, or the orange spot on the butterfly, but also the flame at the end (emitted by the clay shard).  That recirculation of materials depends upon a visual, sensory decay.  And this takes us back to touch.  I wish to write beyond fragmentation.  I wish to create an embodied work of art, with sentences resembling nerves--throbbing on the riverbank.  I want to take those nerves and build a nervous system that's both visceral and vital, capable of receiving and giving touch in turn.  Schizophrene emerges at the borderline of human and monstrous aims.  (495-96)

On the back cover of Sixty Morning Talks one reads this:

During the summer of  2012, Andy Fitch interviewed these authors about their 2012 books:

Eric Baus                                                          Evelyn Reilly
Dan Beachy-Quick                                          Andrea Rexilius
Amaranth Borsuk                                            Frances Richard
Brandon Brown                                               Lisa Robertson
Julie Carr                                                           Chris Schmidt
Heather Christie                                               Zachary Schomburg
Shanna Compton                                             Leonard Schwartz
Joel Craig                                                           Lytle Shaw
Thom Donovan                                                 Brandon Shimoda
Rachel Blau Duplessis                                      Evie Shockley
Forrest Gander                                                 Eleni Sikelianos
& John Kinsella                                                 Dale Smith
Rob Halpern                                                      Rod Smith
Jen Hofer                                                           & Cole Swensen
Cathy Park Hong                                               Juliana Spahr
Bhanu Kapil                                                       Brian Kim Stefans
Sophia Kartsonis                                               Gary Sullivan
& Cynthia Arrieu-King                                       Cole Swensen
Wayne Koestenbaum                                       Catherine Taylor
Dorothy Lasky                                                     Daniel Tiffany
Tan Lin                                                                 Monica De La Torre
Stephen Motika                                                  Nick Twemlow
Amanda Nadelberg                                            Chris Vitiello
Hoa Nguyen                                                         Dana Ward
Travis Ortiz                                                            Laura Wetherington
Danielle Pafunda                                                 Tyrone Williams
Caryl Pagel                                                            Ronaldo Wilson
Emily Pettit                                                            Matvei Yankelevich
Vanessa Place                                                       Jenny Zhang
Srikanth Reddy”

I admire the volume.  My only quibble is the lack of an introduction or preface.  It would have been nice to hear something of the thought process that went into the book.  And something about why these particular writers were invited to participate in the project.  That being said, Sixty Morning Talks shines a spot light on an interesting moment in contemporary poetry.  I recommend it.


Tom Beckett lives and writes in Kent, Ohio.

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