Sarah Maclay is the author of The White Bride.
1. What poet should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?
Gaston Bachelard Housing
2. If you could send Obama one poem or book of poems (not your own), what would it be and why?
Laurie Anderson’s Oh, Superman
(And when love is gone, there’s always justice.
And when justice is gone, there’s always force)
Ralph Angel’s Exceptions and Melancholies & Forrest Gander’s poetry disguised as essay, A Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory and Transcendence, because both of these books will allow him to enter a kind of silence and stillness that he will need.
3. What other poetry-related blog or website should I check out?
the poet & the poem, for the library of congress
4. Who is the most exciting young/new poet I’ve never heard of, but whose work I ought to find and read?
“One”: too hard. Here are some poets with only one recent full-length out or nearly out:
Louise Mathias & Brendan Constantine. Sam Taylor & Anna Moschovakis. Holaday Mason & Alison Benis White. Yvette Johnson &
Oh, I have so many &s!! And so many just emerging . . .
5. What’s the funniest poem you’ve read lately? What was the last poem that made you cry?
Dean Young’s “True/False” & Russell Edson (once again)—in this case, with “The Family Monkey” and “Conjugal,” which I also always find rather beautiful.
When I read it aloud, Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Song” always makes me weep. “Of Mere Being” (Stevens) just did same; Jane Miller’s “Blue Nude,” ditto.
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?
“ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds”
7. Robert Lowell wrote a poem called “Falling Asleep Over the Aeneid.” What supposedly immortal poem puts you to sleep?
Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley alternates between waking me up and causing that sleepy sensation—I’m most awake for the most imagistic parts.
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?
House of Incest, the long prose poem by Anais Nin
Direction: Julian Schnabel, Werner Herzog or Wim Wenders
Because: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Nosferatu and Wings of Desire show us how they enter that territory of dream, of the liminal, of the place where image—where
David Lynch or Julie Taymor might also be good. (Think Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive and Frida.)
Casting: let us begin with Ms. Cotillard
If we film “Prufrock,” we must cast Woody Allen. And if we want to do The Waste Land, to go back to the spirit of He Do the Police in Different Voices, how about a whole cadre of directors, shifting, without announced transition, whenever the vocal/scene changes occur? Am thinking of everyone from the Coen brothers to Sally Potter . . . or at least, shifting section by section.
9. What lines from a poem you first read years ago still haunt you now?
the weeping is an immense violin
I go where I love, and where I am loved
Into the snow . . .
I go where I love, and where I am loved . . .
With no thought of duty or pity
I do not want to name it
there are very few angels that sing
10. What poem do you love, love, love, but don’t understand?
much of Celan
Karen Volkman’s “And when the nights . . .
(except maybe I do . . .)
G.M Hopkins: “The Windhover”
11. If the official organ of the AWP were not the Chronicle but were the Enquirer, what would some of the headlines be?
You’re a dangerous man, Hix.
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?
13. This is the Best American Poetry blog. What’s the best non-American poetry you’ve read lately?
Paulo Henriques Britto’s The Clean Shirt of It
(hand in glove translation by Idra Novey)
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 middle of a kiss
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?
Mary Ruefle’s “Snow”
Name of movie: Snow
Scene in which the lines get sung: when the speaker is still in the classroom, at the moment we see her deciding to leave
(but I’d rather just hear Mary read the poem)
16. Do you have a (clean) joke involving poetry you’d like to share?
I never seem to remember jokes
17. Tell the truth: is it a poetry book you keep in the john, or some other genre (john-re)?
My john is basically a gussied-up outhouse. It gets a bit chilly in the winter, too hot in the summer, so I don’t spend much time in there. The only printed matter is on the back of a few nail polish bottles, or anything I haven’t managed to scrape the label off of.
(Great plumbing, though.)
18. Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?
I can’t remember.
Isn’t that weird?
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?
I can think of several poet laureates who fit the bill, but I’d rather have them writing. The job eats into that.
For President: do you think Neruda might be interested? We would have to pull a few strings . . .
20. Insert your own question here.
What color are your socks?