The most interesting person in the room is either Denise Duhamel or Amy Gerstler and here they are, interviewed by "Stay Thirsty" magazine. . .A couple of brief excerpts follow.
ABRIANA JETTÉ: If you had to pick a moment from your career to best pinpoint the switch from emerging poet to prominent poet, when would it be?
DENISE DUHAMEL: It is hard even now to realize I am even a prominent poet. Like most poets, I just go about my life and no one—not my neighbors, not the people at the grocery store, not my family members, not my doctor or dentist—ever mentions my poems to me or I to them. But I do remember an AWP at which I had a long line of people waiting to sign books. (That had been after years of having no one in my line.) At that same AWP, a grad student from somewhere in the Midwest kept following me around and telling me how great she thought I was. Then she sat right behind me during a reading and threw up! Her vomit splattered on me. (I realized she'd been drunk and maybe not the best judge of anything literary.) But somehow I knew I was no longer emerging.
ABRIANA JETTÉ: What was it like to adopt the voice of a father and of a clairvoyant? Are they original voices or do you consider them to be characters in a narrative?
AMY GERSTLER: One of the things about reading literature that is such a miracle is that it allows you to briefly inhabit other minds, and/or commune with them, learn from them, take them on, know them intimately. I had wanted to be an actress for a while when I was younger, partly because I was entranced by the idea of "playing" someone else, that kind of transformation, trying to become a character different from yourself, to really work at that over time. My interest in writing dramatic monologues or persona pieces like the ones you mentioned stems partly from that early interest in trying to get inside another character/being to see what that would be like. If I understand the second part of your question: I don't consider the various character poems I write as being related to each other, or as part of some larger narrative (although that's a cool idea and maybe something that it would be interesting to try in the future!) They're usually just attempts to create and explore a character and their world, and/or a dilemma or situation the character is involved in, just within the confines of that particular poem.