Jill Alexander Essbaum is the author of Harlot.
1. What poet should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?
David Lehman: Best American Secretary of Poetry, duh!
2. If you could send Obama one poem or book of poems (not your own), what would it be and why?
George Starbuck The Works. Because I want more people reading Starbuck.
3. What other poetry-related blog or website should I check out?
Home-Schooled by a Cackling Jackal, Reb Livingston's blog.
4. Who is the most exciting young/new poet I’ve never heard of, but whose work I ought to find and read?
Jessica Piazza and Ken Rumble.
5. What’s the funniest poem you’ve read lately? What was the last poem that made you cry?
Prufrock. And: Prufrock.
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, Bishop, Dunbar, "No ideas but in things," TB.
7. Robert Lowell wrote a poem called “Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid.” What supposedly immortal poem puts you to sleep?
The Waste Land.
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?
Carol Ann Duffy's The Laughter of Stafford Girls' High. Because of its obvious erotic overtones. Directed by (can I raise him from the dead to direct it?) Louis Malle. All the actresses from Mona Lisa Smile.
9. What lines from a poem you first read years ago still haunt you now?
"From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire…"
10. What poem do you love, love, love, but don’t understand?
"They Feed They Lion"
11. If the official organ of the AWP were not the Chronicle but were the Enquirer, what would some of the headlines be?
How about Weekly World News, instead?
BAT BOY NOMINATED FOR PUSHCART!!!!
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?
I wouldn't mind being the meat in a Lord Byron / Leonard Cohen sandwich. Is that bad?
13. This is the Best American Poetry blog. What’s the best non-American poetry you’ve read lately?
Simon Armitage is my favorite poet. He's British.
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?
Printed on a roll of toilet paper.
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?
Why, Harvey, why?
16. Do you have a (clean) joke involving poetry you’d like to share?
So straightening out one's Longfellow isn't allowed here?
17. Tell the truth: is it a poetry book you keep in the john, or some other genre (john-re)?
The Historical Dictionary of African-American Television, at present. A fantastic book!
18. Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?
No and no, alas alas.
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?
Laureate: Marilyn Nelson, because her poetry is wise.
20. Insert your own question here.
Will you dedicate a poem in your next book to me?