Looking Back at 2015

Here are our ten most-read interviews of 2015.

1. Catherine Pritchard Childress Other Cover by Catherine Pritchard Childress

Other (Finishing Line Press, 2015)

“…the chapbook that has been most influential to me as a poet and a woman is Charlotte Pence’s Weaves A Clear Night.  Weaves a Clear Night is a poem in 17 sections and has been characterized as an Appalachian retelling of the mythical Penelope. I read Charlotte’s book practically every day while I was working on the poems in Other, and still read it at least once a month.”

2.  Cecilia Woloch

Earth (Two Sylvias Press, 2015)

“…my best guess is that the poems in Earth have something to do with my relationship to the physical world, especially the natural world, which for a long time seemed forbidding to me, mysterious and possibly dangerous, probably because my spirits, my ghosts, are so rooted in earth, and there’s so much tragedy in my family’s history. So it’s an ancestral thing, and I had to wake up into it, if that makes any sense. The earth of these poems is haunted, but in a way that I hope is rich. And of course there’s love in that hauntedness, too, love moving in all directions through time.”

 

After cover3.  Fatimah Asghar

After (YesYes Books, 2015)

Who do you most hope will read your chapbook? (either an individual or a particular group of people)?

“I wrote a chapbook that I wish I had at the time. Sometimes I forget that my body is mine. That my voice is mine. I view this chapbook as a response to that forgetting. So I guess anyone who needs it. Anyone who also forgets.”

 

4.  Matvei Yankelevich

The Blue Notebook (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004) 13483952

translations of poems by Daniil Kharms

“I’ve been translating Kharms since college (the early 1990s), so I’ve known about it a long time. I wanted to put something out by Kharms when I started the Eastern European Poets Series for UDP. The Blue Notebook seemed perfect, because – as it says in the afterword – it’s one of Kharms’s few groupings of work that he collected himself. Much of the rest of his work was not finalized in the same way. It seems he was interested in making a serial work made up of fragments. I find it to be a very interesting work, a notebook that might feel spontaneous (like a diary) but actually assembled from texts written in other notebooks or on scraps of paper over a period of several years. It’s composed in a mysterious way.”

5.  Bethany Carlson DIADEM ME - Bethany Carlson - MIEL 2015

Diadem Me (MIEL, 2014)

“I love work that shakes up my relationship to text and destabilizes my own interpretive lens. Kierkegaard says the process of becoming a self involves reflecting through the medium of imagination how future possibilities present themselves to us in the present. I swoon over poems that loop me in to those possibilities. I also like poems that leave residue. I am enamored with surfaces, ghostly and otherworldly, and shifting shapes that surface in the aftermath of poems or point in directions beyond the words on the page. The poems I love most startle me and leave impressions—sensations I feel but cannot quite name.”

6.  Catherine Carter MOTW-front-cover

Marks of the Witch (Jacar Press, 2014)

“[The oldest poem in the chapbook] is ‘The Things You Know,’ and I remember that one very well. It dates back to Christmas 2009 and the start of 2010. There was an MLA conference up in Philadelphia that year, so my spouse and I went and stayed with my parents on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and then came back there a bit before New Year’s, and before the long trek back to Appalachia. It was cold and snowy, and of the various ways to get there, we took one I hadn’t seen in a long time, one of the ways I used to go back and forth to University of Delaware when I was in grad school there—down Route 13 to Smyrna, and across a very rural stretch of Delaware and Maryland to Templeville and Marydel. And the sign on the Templeville Road was gone, and everything looked different in the snow, and a lot of those back roads look somewhat alike anyway, and it had been forever since I’d come that way… but I knew it when I saw it, even so. And that was both comforting and poignant—all these things I know, or used to, about this place where I grew up, which are no use at all most of the time.”

7.  Adrian Blevins Blevins

Bloodline (Hollyridge Press, 2012)

“Then there are chapbooks by more established poets that I like to think of as little stones sort of between longer boulders (or books). Bloodline, my second chapbook, can be placed in this category. Here are things that must be done with language sometimes—and with feelings I think sometimes—that need the least amount of commercial pressure put on them. They need NOT to be attended to by the commercial world, but float around instead in rebellious little whispers from poet to poet like that old game Telephone we used to pay as kids.”

8.  Brandi Wells Boring-194x300

This Boring Apocalypse (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015)

“This Boring Apocalypse was actually written in a fairly linear fashion, though it used to be around 88,000 words long. I am an over-writer. I cut and cut until it began to make sense. There were a lot more cats in the earlier draft. I think cake frosting was featured as a character, but isn’t. There were a lot of hamburgers. I might have been really hungry.”

 

9.  Jessica Piazza Piazza

This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press, 2014)

“For most of my writing years I was some version of a formalist. Formalish, I liked to say. I’m always attracted to traditional form not because it’s traditional, but because the tradition works as a useful springboard to play with and subvert expectation. My first full-length collection, Interrobang, is all formal poems that work heavily with rhyme and general soundplay. And fit the form perfectly.  But This is not a sky was different. I was very influenced by the art I chose to inspire the poems.  Some of it nodded to tradition but moved beyond it, and a lot of it bucked convention entirely, although the artists often had a classical background.”

10. Anders Carlson-Wee Dynamite

Dynamite (Bull City Press, 2015)

“…I learned a lot about survival, and came to see the world through that lens. It’s a severe outlook, with focuses on efficiency, basic physical needs, awareness through the senses, and constantly rethinking what any given object could become. In short, it teaches you how to do a lot with a little, and how to reshape what you already have to make something new. (Good lessons for poetry.) Most of my poems track a survival narrative, or apply a survivalist mindset to a situation or topic, so that’s some of what’s going on in the world of Dynamite.”

Dana Crum Crum

Good Friday 2000 (Q Avenue Press, 2014)

“Any type of text—even road signs, a task list, or a weather forecast—can help me write, either triggering a phrase that might lead to a new poem or helping me fill holes in poems in progress. There’s something else that often happens. Whatever I’m reading, whether it’s a newspaper, dictionary, novel, poem or some other kind of text, I occasionally come across places, plants or animals whose names are unusual, or full of symbolic and sonic possibilities that are waiting to be exploited.”

Molly Gaudry Wild+Thing+-+Molly+Gaudry

Wild Thing (The Cupboard, 2014)

“I enjoy single-sitting reading experiences. I like to laugh and be surprised by images and languages; I like to feel sad and tender toward characters and speakers; I like a bite-sized reading experience that fills a person like a feast (or an all-you-can-eat buffet).”

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