The Geof Huth you know or know of, I suspect, is different than the Geof I know. You might know Geof Huth from his dbqp: visualizing poetics site or the excellent work he did guest-editing Poetry's excellent visual poetry portfolio in their November 2008 issue.
I know Geof Huth, or got to know him, as part of the small but vital writers community here in the Capital Region. He likes my fart jokes, for example. His generous participation in the Music of Words, Poetry of Sounds: A Residency with Petr Kotik was a hoot in and of itself; it was also a chance to see the Geof Huth Papers at SUNY Albany's M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives to get a feel for what kind of varied and vital projects in which this Gemini has participated. Huth took time from his busy day to answer these questions, and we are certainly gladdened he did!
Sign: Gemini, or the Twins. There hangs on the wall of my dining room a limited-edition blockprint, only 20 total, by the Mexican-American artist Artemio Rodriguez, entitled “El Zodiaco,” and it begins with Gemini, but the twins are a man and a woman, naked, Edenic, their genitals exposed, and the twins are examining each other’s bodies with obvious desire, the man literally staring, mouth agape and smiling widely, at the woman’s pubic area, his fingers brushing over the hairs of her vulva, but I don’t quite see myself represented much in this version of my zodiacal sign.
Birthplace: Burlingame, California, but I’m really from Millbrae, but I left there when I was three and lived on four continents over the course of my life, so birthplace doesn’t really tell anyone much about me.
You may know me because: you work with me, but that is quite unlikely, or because you have run across the various forms of poetry I produce, a little more likely, or because you grew up with me, but in that last case you’d have to be one of my five siblings.
My house is: half-stone and half-siding-over-ancient-clapboard, and we bought the house for the third floor, which affords me the comforts of an office, which is also a studio for me and which accumulates papers and objects at a rate that I find remarkable. The counterpart to our house is our three-car all-bluestone garage, which I call the back house, though I’ve been told that that is a pretentious name for a berth for automobiles, even if it includes a loft. My house keeps my family warm and comfortable, but at a cost that I am finding increasingly difficult to justify.
The first thing I do every morning is: pick up my cellphone, which is also my alarm clock, and read my email and then the tweets that have accumulated during my sleep, which sleep usually lasts between five and six hours.
My cellphone brand is: an iPhone, and because of that I am almost always connected to the Internet. When I traveled to Europe this year, I was hugely incapacitated by the lack of accessible WiFi connections and the fact that I refused to pay the monstrous roaming charges that would have allowed me to live my life as I usually do. I did eat quite a bit of herring in Europe, but that was a positive aspect of only one of these trips.
About my pets: there is little positive I can say. It is not that they are bad beasts. It is that I have grown beyond the need for pets, and our dogs have horrendously bad breath. Our cat is okay, though I wish he would deposit more than pee in the litter box.
I exercise: by avoiding doing anything physical the easy way. I can’t stand, however, the drudgery of regimented exercise. I’m not made out of that kind of focus or ability to withstand boredom.
Lately I’ve been surprised by: how many bad things can happen at work in one week, mostly brought on, in one way or another, by the continuing global financial crisis.
Books I’m reading: right now are The Best American Comics 2009 (edited by Charles Burns), Margaret Atwood’s new novel The Year of the Flood, and The Dream Songs by John Berryman. I’m reading a little bit of each of them every day. This selection of books, one from 1969 and two from forty years later, may tell people something about my interests or it may not.
I was so excited when this came out on DVD: Freaks by Todd Browning. There is something haunting about this crippled and flawed little film, and beautiful, something I’m always drawn to. “One of us, one of us.”
The cereals in my cupboard are: Newman’s Own Sweet Enough Flakes ‘N Strawberries (yes, they use an open single quotation mark in place of an apostrophe in “‘N,” and this cereal is a bit too sweet), Kashi Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal Toasted Graham & Vanilla (too much like eating sweet sticks, but not as good as chewing on a piece of sugar cane), Kellogg’s Special K Protein Plus (these lightly sweetened wheat, soy & rice flakes are okay, but a bit like eating scabs), and Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes & Granola with Black Currants & Walnuts (this one is just right, not too sweet, not woody, tasty, and the bursts of dried black currants and the chewiness of walnuts make for a fine morning taste treat). I have never paid attention to the full names of these cereals, and I find myself shocked by their clumsy names. Whatever happened to solid American cereal names like Sugar Smacks, Quisp, Quake, Count Chocula, and Froot Loops?
Heaven on earth is: reading and making all day long.
For dinner, I like to make: feijoada, the national dish of Brazil, the name of which means nothing more than bean dish, but the mixture of white rice, black beans cooked with chorizo and maybe a little pork, a sauce (of olive oil, vinegar, and chopped onions and tomatoes), and a dusting of cornmeal makes for a wonderful hearty meal, especially in the colder months.
I’ll eat sushi, but not: while I’m sleeping. I’ll eat anything, and sushi is my favorite food, so I’ll eat any kind of sushi or sashimi, even whole octopus. Some types of sushi I like more than others. Best is a nice fatty yellowtail.
My coolest article of clothing: is my rock climbing shoes. Though, I suppose, they are two articles.
My most prized possession: is my copy (letter H) of Robert Grenier’s box of 500 poems, Sentences.
My TV screen is: rarely used, since I watch less than an hour of television a week, but we just signed up for Netflix, so we might be watching a movie or two a week from now on.
When friends come over, we: sit around eating and drinking and talking, and the talking dominates.
My favorite TV channel is: Fox, I suppose, since that is where the one show I’m watching now appears, but the concept of favorite TV channel has no bearing in my current life.
My first financial splurge was: spending $700 to fix our only car when that represented about 60% of our monthly earnings (and none of the earnings at that point were my own).
Wackiest fan encounter: was meeting the great visual poet Troy Lloyd in Atlanta, Georgia, in July of 2008. He was skinny as a pole, wearing a skirt, remarkably touched by my poetry performance, and he asked me if he could give me a hug. Of course, I said, Yes. This was also my best encounter with a “fan.” Troy is one of the sweetest people I know.
TV show I never miss: The Simpsons (that’s the half hour of television I watch a week, but only when it’s a new episode, and, yes, I realize that this show is not what it used to be, that it is no longer worth watching).
Before I die, I want to: visit the three continents I’ve never lived on: Asia, Australia, and Antarctica.
The best perk of being a celebrity is: no-one really knows who you are.
Celebrity whom I’d ask for an autograph: is anyone who has written a book I own, and the autograph has to go in the book.
Dream car: no car at all. I’ve never had any interest in cars and only learned how to drive out of absolute necessity. If I didn’t have to drive at all, I’d be quite satisfied.
When I fly I have to have: something to read or write.
People would be surprised that I: have nothing to say about this.
Favorite cartoon: the old Warner Bros.’ cartoons, which were the pinnacle of animation.
My iPod playlist: is eclectic: monkeys drumming, punk, Irish, rock, classical, jazz, pop, reggae, blues, zydeco, even a little country music, but I’m the pickiest about what of the last I’ll allow.
I can’t start my day without: getting out of bed.
If I had to spend $10 at my favorite fast food joint, I’d order: Popeye’s chicken, spicy, but they haven’t made it spicy enough in years.
To the right: A selection from Huth's A (An A), Analphabet, from logolalia.