Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Michael Emerson is like Ben in real life. Creepy!

No LOST until February. That's a difficult thing. You know what would help? Michael Emerson going on The View in character. That would be cool.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Interview with Adam Clay

This is the first of the Octopus vs. Chipmunk interview series. Our guest today is Adam Clay, author of The Wash, a book of poetry from Parlor Press. Recently, O v. C had a chance to sit down with Adam and discuss his book, his life, and his dreams. Or something. When I speak, I speak in red italics.

I want you to discuss the process of putting together your book. Specifically, I mean how you got from point A (we’ll call that Adam) to point W (The Wash itself) and how points B (the book itself) through V (the completed volume) evolved. Also, what plans do you have for X, Y, and Z?

I want to start by saying: you’ve got a tough interview face. A Poker Face, but with no cards in your hand, no chips on the table. It’s highly likely your intimidation will factor into my responses, so pardon my hesitancy and, at times, dishonesty.Image of The Wash

I often arrive at places not knowing how I came to be there. W was for the most part my MFA thesis, originally titled “Apology”. The poems were written over the course of my three years at Arkansas—I probably wrote a few hundred while I was there—and what ended up in W are the poems that seemed to frame the overall experience (that is the A to W experience) which felt right. Order was maddening to me. I knew the placement of the first and second poem was right, but from there, it was wide open early on. Because I wanted the book to be more of a sequence than a bunch of poems thrown together, I avoided (for a long time) the idea of dividing it up into sections. In the end, I folded—titling the sections gave each section more of an ability to “speak” to each other.

I don't know if I even answered your question.

You mostly did, I think, so that's good enough. You have a great “poet writing name.” I mean “Adam” – first man – and “Clay” – stuff of the earth, all that. Has your name affected the poetry you write? I mean, if you were born with a name that was wholly unsuited toward poetry, would you be a different type of writer?

All poets seem to notice this. My parents claim they had no idea.

All poets? Wow. What about the title? Is it a noun or a verb? Or is it something else entirely?

Both. The bath. The laundry. The cleansing. Kimberley likes to watch the clothes spin in the wash. It’s something I thought a lot about when I was coming up with a title for the book. I liked that it was both. I liked that it could be.

Did you consider other less monosyllabic titles?

As a rule, I’m pretty much against polysyllabic words. I tried to revise them out of the text as I revised, but some of them just couldn’t be taken out. To be honest, if we could just speak in grunts and groans, the world might be a better place. The world is complex enough; why do we need long words?

You lead off the book with quotes from Larry Levis and Herman Melville. Who do you think would win a fight between the two?

Arm-wrestling: Levis.

Boxing: Melville.

Thumb-wrestling: Draw.

In your poem “Apology,” you write, “Rivers are a savior of sorts[.]” Can you support that statement with evidence?

I thirst.

Name a few poets, past or present, who would hate your work.

Larry Levis.

Herman Melville.

Jim Morrison.

The first word in a poem in the book is “trusting” and the last word in these poems is “along.” Discuss.

Shannon Jonas always does this with books—looks at the first word and then at the last. Having seen him do this on countless occasions, it didn’t occur to me to check the opening and closing words. I defer to him (insert Shannon’s response here—).

Some of my readers might not know who Shannon Jonas is. Care to elucidate him to those who may not know him?

Shannon Jonas is an enigma.

Oh. You’ve been called a “poet’s poet.” Can you talk about that a bit?

Who said that?

And with that, we ended our conversation with a lengthy awkward silence. You can purchase your copy of The Wash here. You should. It's quite good.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

While I've been gone

Evidently, everybody and their brother has started a blog. And they've been trying to lull people away from my blog during my absence (as if my not updating my blog wasn't enough to stop people from coming. Still.)

So here's what I know.

Go to these blogs:

Write Noise, Not Flowers

Proud to be Awesome

Mapmaker of the Human Condition

These talented and attractive people seem to be saying interesting things on their blogs. If you're interested in things like boxing and what books and movies people you likely haven't met hasn't read or seen (and, yeah, it's embarrassing) then you ought to check these out. I'll put a permanent link in my sidebar for each of these eventually, but here I am given them a major shout out first.


And I haven't forgotten about you and you're need for updates. I've just been enduring a few temporary disappointments and whatnots. I've got plans. Soon.