Mari L'Esperance is fierce.
If she watched a lot of TV, she might the import of calling her such a thing. To be fierce in the world of America's Next Top Model and other like-minded shows is to be confident, strong, yet somehow quiet and modest about it all, all the while maintaining a level of fabulousness that might explain why a line like "What am I but the flower of your deepest self?" come so easily.
But Mari L'Esperance does not watch a lot of trashy TV. The author of The Darkened Temple, which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in 2008, is fierce all by her own darn self. She doesn't need Tyra Banks or anyone else to tell her that her poetry's fierceness draws from a variety of inspirations, from family, memory, a solid line and images that last well after the dial is turned down. Mari the Fierce took time to talk to use from her home in the Bay Area, and we're glad she did!
Age: As if.
You may know me because: I've got a book of poems out titled The Darkened Temple (2008 U. of Nebraska Press).
My house is: a work in progress.
The first thing I do every morning is: wake up.
My cell phone brand is: I have profound analog-shame, so decline to answer.
About my pets: two cats.
I exercise: not enough.
Lately I've been surprised by: see "Wackiest fan encounter," below.
Book I'm reading: Elizabeth Macklin's You've Just Been Told and Cynthia Cruz's Ruin.
I was so excited when this came out on DVD: Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides.
The cereals in my cupboard are: I don't eat cereal (except for oatmeal, on occasion).
Heaven on earth is: sleep.
For dinner, I like to make: a run to our local Pho joint.
I'll eat sushi, but not: Come on, we're talkin' soul food over here! I eat it all.
My coolest article of clothing: It's been a long time since I used the words "cool" and "clothing" in the same sentence.
My most prized possession: my poetry books.
My TV screen is: mostly dark.
When friends come over, we: go out.
My favorite TV channel is: "off".
My first financial splurge was: probably a car.
Wackiest fan encounter: Fans? Do poets have fans?! Now I can answer the "Lately I've been surprised by" question.
TV show I never miss: I don't follow TV much.
Before I die, I want to: know that I've made a difference.
The best perk of being a celebrity is: being FOD (Friend of Dan) [ed: aww].
Celebrity whom I'd ask for an autograph: Exene Cervenka.
Dream car: one that requires no gas and no maintenance.
When I fly I have to have: ear plugs.
People would be surprised that I: can't answer this question.
Favorite cartoon: Road Runner.
My iPod playlist: I previously disclosed that I have profound analog-shame, so most readers should be able to intuit the answer to this one.
I can't start my day without: checking my email.
If I had to spend $10 at my favorite fast food joint, I'd order: a steaming bowl of Pho and a Vietnamese ice coffee with condensed milk.