Christopher Davis is the author of The Patriot.
1. What poet should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?
John Ashbery as Secretary of the Imagination
2. If you could send Obama one poem or book of poems (not your own), what would it be and why?
"Wrong" or "Otherhood" by Reginald Shepherd...it is highly possible that Barak (I call him Barak) has had some DL experiences at the gym, and he shouldn't be afraid to think about them, in the privacy of his mind, in all their complexity and Americana...and feel sad that an Orphic voice is silent now.
3. What other poetry-related blog or website should I check out?
Lance Phillips does one -- interesting.
4. Who is the most exciting young/new poet I’ve never heard of, but whose work I ought to find and read?
5. What’s the funniest poem you’ve read lately? What was the last poem that made you cry?
Funniest: David Rivard, "Nostalgia," in APR.
Made me cry: "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," truly -- see #2.
6. William or Dorothy? Robert or Elizabeth Barrett? Moore or Bishop? Dunbar or Cullen? “Poetry must resist the intelligence almost successfully” or “No ideas but in things”? Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas or Tender Buttons?
William, Robert -- I refuse to choose between Moore or Bishop -- don't know enough about Dunbar or Cullen to choose responsibly -- Poetry must resist AND no ideas but in things, the first in the AM, the second in the PM -- Tender Buttons, definitely.
7. Robert Lowell wrote a poem called “Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid.” What supposedly immortal poem puts you to sleep?
"Flow Chart," but in a nice way...I wake up, go on reading, go back to sleep, dream -- it's great!
8. Even for poetry books, the contract has a provision for movie rights. What poetry book should they make into a movie? Who should direct it, and why? Who should star in it?
Jack Spicer, "Billy the Kid" sequence, directed by the clockwork orange/2001 a space odyssey guy -- what's his name? I know he's dead, but he could TRY. Starring anyone but Sean Penn.
9. What lines from a poem you first read years ago still haunt you now?
And you still are so beautiful -- what should I do? Don't ask me,
love, for that love again. Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
10. What poem do you love, love, love, but don’t understand?
"Anti-Psalm" by Novica Tadic.
11. If the official organ of the AWP were not the Chronicle but were the Enquirer, what would some of the headlines be?
Maya Angelou charges a lot (a LOT) of money to speak at graduation ceremony at Johnson C. Smith U., African-American university in Charlotte, NC.
12. If you were making a scandal rag for poetry in the grocery store checkout stands, what fictitious poetry love triangle would you make up to outsell that tired Hollywood story of Angelina and Brad and Jen?
Timothy Liu/Galway Kinnell/Bob Perelman
13. This is the Best American Poetry blog. What’s the best non-American poetry you’ve read lately?
"The Fire Stays in Red," Ronny Someck
14. We read poems in journals and books, we hear them in readings and on audio files. Sometimes we get them in unusual ways: on buses or in subway cars. How would you like to encounter your next poem?
In the voting booth, four years from now.
15. What poem would you like to hear the main character bust out singing in a Bollywood film? What would be the name of the movie? What would be the scene in which it was sung?
"Large Red Man Reading," Wallace Stevens, in a serious film about the first years of the AIDS epidemic in America, sung by Ben Hepner or another great helden-tenor while walking around Chelsea or a similar once-gay neighborhood in an American city. This is a film that needs to be made, seriously, soon.
16. Do you have a (clean) joke involving poetry you’d like to share?
After great pain, a formal feeling comes.
17. Tell the truth: is it a poetry book you keep in the john, or some other genre (john-re)?
Yes -- let's see, ah, the Ingeborg Bachmann reader from Green Integer is in there now.
18. Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?
No, I can't remember any of them! No, none of them made me memorize a poem...we studied "Border Song" by Elton John. (LA suburbs, early 70's.)
19. If you got to choose the next U.S. Poet Laureate, who (excluding of course the obvious candidates, you and me) would it be? Of former U.S. Poet Laureates, who did such a great job that he/she should get a second term? Next election cycle, what poet should run for President? Why her or him?
Poet Laureate choice: Jorie Graham. Pinsky did a great job. Who should run: Harvey Hix, because he has administrative experience!
20. Insert your own question here.
Should poets be upset or happy that the American economy is dying?