Thursday, March 6, 2014

My First Interview for Cloud Pharmacy - Thanks to Diane Lockward at Blogalicious


Where is her ice cream?
Thanks to the amazing poet Diane Lockward, author most recently of The Crafty Poet - A Portable Workshop, for featuring me as this week's "Poet on the Poem." This is a wonderful series that Diane runs where she interviews a different poet each week (or so) asking them questions on just one poem. The feature includes a photo as well as a recording of the poet reading her piece. This week I am the featured poet and the poem is "Blue Grapes" which opens my newest book, Cloud Pharmacy.

Here is a little bit of the interview with Diane's cool question.

DL: There’s a surreal element in the poem. You give us “years unbalanced on the windowsill,” newspapers that appeared “like oracles on your doorstep,” and a God who “visited, delivered ice cream; returned your delinquent library books.” How do you achieve these dream-like moments? How hard is it to trust them, to allow them into the poem?

SR: Wow, I love this question, but I want to first turn it around. The dreamlike moments are the core of the poem; they are the force of the vision I’m trying to express. I think of Elizabeth Bishop saying that what she wants while reading a poem is “to see the mind in motion.” My mind goes to the odd and the unlikely. I’ve always been interested in the juxtaposition of the quiet of morning coffee with the news of the world. As a child the unfolding of the newspaper from itself taught me that the world was out there waiting for me to try to understand it.

Now to answer your question more directly: these “dream-like” moments come easily to me; they are the way my mind works, the way I understand the world. I find no tonal separation between the line “you stayed in bed, read novels, drank too much” and the next line “God visited, delivered ice cream; returned your delinquent library books.” In fact, I do not drink alcohol, so that first line seems more preposterous to me. Poetry works as an avenue of presences, a way to live in the world that exists beyond what we can actually know.

To continue reading my interview with Diane Lockward, click here!

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