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Interviews

Conversations with poets, editors, and artists.

To Keep It All from Vanishing: An Interview with Timothy Donnelly

As for form, I’ve always been interested in patterning of all kinds, probably for a lot of reasons. I can’t account for every one of them, but on a primal level, underneath them all, as far as poems go, I’ve always felt that poetry’s ancient emphasis on the physical properties of language, and the use of certain of these properties (such as quantity or syllable count or stress) as leading principles in its composition, is what most distinguishes poetry from other kinds of writing, and what makes it most palpable, most present.

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Publishing Into That Mystery: An Interview with Eileen Myles

A conversation with Eileen Myles, eminent poet, novelist, performer, art journalist, and artist, about their exhibition poems, on view at Bridget Donahue through January 13, 2019, concurrent with the publication of their new collection of poems Evolution (Grove Press, 2018).

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American Lit: An Interview with Jacob Minasian

In the case of this collection, it was very much about trying to process the complexities of our decisions as a society during and after the 2016 election. My first attempts at writing after the election felt obvious, overt, like I was yelling what everyone else was yelling in almost the exact same way. I knew I had to approach the situation with a more subtle, more effective tone.

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Unexpected Lines and Gradients: A Blue Dark, and interview with Fritz Horstman and Fiona Sze-Lorrain

This summer, the Gallery Upstairs at the Institute Library in New Haven, Connecticut presents the show A Blue Dark, which opens on June 1 and runs through September 7. In this exhibition, visual artist Fritz Horstman collaborates with poet, translator, and zheng harpist Fiona Sze-Lorrain to explore a cross-genre range of textual/non-textual responses to the presence of a luminous dark. Both meditate on its changing physicality, materiality, space, emotions, images, meanings, and music by dialoguing with each other's work—ink drawings, poetry, and translation—inspired by the complexity of black, gray, and white, as well as their fluid mysteries of being.

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Talking About The Sonnet: Diane Mehta and Drew Pisarra

The sonnet may be the poetry world's answer to the waltz: a tried-and-true form that people tend to write off as stuffy until they realize that a song they love is actually written at least partly in 3/4 time. Think Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" or Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You." Not so stodgy now, right? Making the sonnet dance again has become something of an American tradition, too, one that extends from Edna St. Vincent Millay to Terrance Hayes then beyond in both directions. Adding their own voices to the chorus are Diane Mehta (Forest with Castanets) and Drew Pisarra (Infinity Standing Up), two poets with debut collections that feature this reliable old form in surprisingly new ways. Below they discuss how they ended up working in a sonnet series and why it suited their material so well.

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Poems Argue with One Another: Interview with Natasha Sajé

Poet Natasha Sajé has been living in Salt Lake City since the late nineties. The author of three books of poetry, she has written numerous essays on a wide range of subjects including food, books, travels, and marriage. Her most recent collection is Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014). Also published in 2014 is her book of essays Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory from the University of Michigan Press. A professor of English at Westminster College, Sajé is one of the faculty members of the low-residency program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In this interview, she discusses about her writing and passion for baking, as well as life in Utah and abroad.

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Heart Poems: An Interview with Ben Estes

My background is primarily in visual art. I'd taken drawing and painting classes since I was in elementary school, and I have masters degrees in both painting and art history. I forget that people often don't know that about me. About 9 years ago I went to the University of Massachusetts MFA in Poetry Program.

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A Conversation with Christopher Soto

Christopher Soto is a poet from Los Angeles, currently based in Brooklyn. He is the author of Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and editor of Nepantla: An Anthology of Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018).

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The Song Is Always There: Maureen N. McLane

Based in New York, American poet and professor Maureen N. McLane has recently released a new book of poems, Some Say (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017), just a year after the publication of what could be read as a "novel-in-verse"—a "poem-in-episodes," Mz N: the serial (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). In this interview conducted in December 2017 and January 2018, McLane discusses about her idea(s) of a lyrical self, music in poetry and musical influences, as well as the various ways in which she hopes to honor "both mystery and clarity" in her work.

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