The Next Big Thing

Jessica Smith tagged me for this interview circular: “The Next Big Thing.” You can read her contribution here, where she describes her latest manuscript, mnemotechnics (finalist for the 2012 Nightboat Prize). I recommend a wander through her first book Organic Furniture Cellar. You might see a double rainbow...

        pink        o   n
                    t              s                    ed

                              w         e
                      d                     e

                                  g                l a


                                                clear sky
       ink     d                    ye

                                   s       pink
                              w               a  aqua
                                            t   e r

Now, below, I answer some questions about Che, my forthcoming book from Stockport Flats (March 2013). 

What is the title of your book?

Che (or Being Che or Unuiet Youth / Becoming Che / Making the New Man or Honeymoon / Speech / Experiment w/ a Tin Grenade / Sensitivity TrainingTheir Whole Whorehouse Hemisphere / Channeling the Revolution / Photo Shoot / Machete Schedule / The People’s Theater / General Chaos / The City of Cienfuegos / Mythology / Name Change or). My projects are usually constellations constructed upon titles: one and many.
Who is the publisher of your book?
Stockport Flats. Editor Lori Anderson Moseman published my first book, B, as the inaugural book in the Meander Scar series. The latest stunning books in that series are Belinda Kremer’s decoherence and Melanie Noel’s The Monarchs. As for Che, it is part of a new Stockport series called Oxbow Cutoff for subsequent books by Meander Scar authors (see: Deborah Poe’s the last will be stone, too). Lori is Stockport Flats, but she has many arms: Witness Post (ecopoetics), Wavefront (women writers), Confluence (community poetics). Spend some time in her universe. 
What genre does your book fall under?
Poetry. In the innards of B, Lori labeled it “Poetry/Politics,” which, for some reason, we both thought was funny. Che is labeled: Poetry, but just here let’s add Politics. You know, to be funny.
What is one sentence from your book?
Precipice nondescript.     pt.
What inspired you to write this book/where did the idea for the book come from?
For my birthday (2008), my friend Randall gave me a copy of the definitive Che bio, by Jon Lee Anderson, a journalist I had been reading for many years (see: Guerillas, The Lion's Grave, The Fall of Baghdad, all of which helped me to write The- Associated Press and Secret Caves). Instantly, I knew that I was going to write a poem on Che, those letters: C, h, e.
In the previous years, I had been thinking, re-thinking, in poetry, my politics: contextualizing, communing, being mixed up. Feeling ineffectual (insecure re: my “unjustified” poetics), I turned to investigating the lives of radical actors (another poem of mine, Sons and Followers, conjures John Brown). There’s this fantasy, masculine fantasy, of entering a world stage and changing things through force. Seizing power. Wrongs will be righted. Particularly complicated, I think, for poets and artists who believe in truth’s open space, the reader’s autonomy. Che inhabits this problem for a while.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Che took 2 years to ch-ch-chisel: 2008-2009. Conceptually, the middle section “Che” came first. It’s a series of left-justified spine-tight columns with blank pages to the right. The opening, “Unquiet Youth,” came next (previously published @ Harp & Altar), a flimsy li’l pamphlet, slipped into the front over, to fall on your lap, to get trashed beneath your boots. The finishing touches of “Making the New Man” (the synthesis! in 3D!) were applied throughout my first year in Iowa City (some of these pagescapes were previously published in Mutha Fucka #2).
What are your influences for this book?
Totem poles, Aztec codices, Diego Rivera’s revolutionary murals, Zarathustra, Marinetti, Mayakovsky, Lorca, papeluchos (dirty paper scraps).
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Steven Soderbergh actually made the movie the same year as I was writing the poem – unbeknownst to him! Sodebergh chose Benicio del Toro, an obvious choice! Besides he, maybe me, or you.
What else might pique the reader’s interest?


of the Day

Some new poems from "of the Day" (a project in progress) uploaded to the internets, thanks to the wonderful folk at Horse Less Review (Jen Tynes and Michael Sikkema) and Petri Press (Micah Bateman and Andrea Kohashi).