How did the poems for Perhaps a Girl Elsewhere manifest themselves, and what was the writing process like for these poems? Where did the original impulse for the collection come from?
For several years prior to the start date of writing the poems that led to this chapbook, I had (and of course still am) been interested in Feminism and so in August of 2006 I started to write lots and lots of poems which—at the time—were all titled From Feminism. In other words, I was writing a constellation. Feminism is a huge, very diverse, fabulously all over the place discourse, so I didn’t see a way to address the notion in an organized, straightforward way. Between 2006 and early 2008 I wrote 300 or so pages of From Feminism pieces. Once I had a huge messy amassment, I culled—and culled—and culled; as well, I titled the culled pieces. So far my response has been a little misleading, as it focuses on the production of the book-length manuscript from which the poems in Perhaps A Girl Elsewhere are taken. PAGE was assembled due to seeing a post advertizing a reading period for Birds of Lace by Megan Milks on the blog Montevidayo. PAGE has less of me—well, me overtly—than the From Feminism manuscript and is more clearly “about” girls and or women. Depending on one’s view, it’s either more or less feminist than the larger assemblage. I, personally, advocate that feminism be seen as critical thinking, as a fabulously flexible/adaptive allness which lets everything in, which takes the entire world for its subject—but others could argue that this is humanism not feminism; but that there should be this duality strikes me as weird and to inadvertently de-humanize (and not in a nifty generous experimental way) females, make them an esoteric other (and I am by no means automatically opposed to esoteric others but am not sure it’s the best casting for a large-scale to a large degree public discourse).
What art (music/film/writing/etc) has been inspiring/engaging you lately and why?
I don’t really watch films unless they’re nature documentaries or getting very, very low grades on Netflix—in other words give me a straight to video Paris Hilton flick over film as “art” any-day! Poetry-wise, I’ve been enjoying Rosemarie Waldrop’s Driven To Abstraction and devour Gossip Girl books and the Clique Series and the A-List series and well my new favorite series I don’t even remember the name of but I love ‘em! Something likes My Hollywood Life or somesuch. Too, I haven’t gone for the past three years without reading at least one Jackie Collins novel or novella. Her work is interesting because it purports to be feminist but is, I’d argue, actually a very elaborate patriarchal decoy. Other excitements: haute couture (I love looking at pictures of Dior dresses etc; and yay for Charles James!); Naomi Campbell; syntax. I would like to know more about Bernini!
Who are your feminist icons/foremothers?
Audre Lorde; bell hooks; Martha Nussbaum; Amartya Sen; Melvin Tolson. Melvin Tolson is not an obvious choice, as his gender politics basically, well, are stinky; however, I think his amazing poem “Harlem Gallery” is a great field to look at as a model which then needs tweaking; in other words although it has a large obvious flaw, it may also allow for liberation. And if men are not allowed on this list, then let me add Gwendolyn Brooks and Judith Butler.
If you could time travel to any time and place, where/when would it be and why?
A Versace runway show in the early 1990’s.
What are your greatest hopes & fears around writing?
My greatest fear is that I end-up irreparably alienating someone/demographic who I would like to be in loving relation to. Goal-wise, I would love to write a canzone a la “Zukofsky’s A-9”; too, I’d love it if I ended up producing a linked series of Petrarchan sonnets which are “dancing in chains” not looking like the form is kicking the executor’s ass. Too, if I could write a page-turning fashion pop-novel I would be ecstatic!
What are your current projects?
I write a ton, so there’s always too much. Two manuscripts which are not complete and which I imagine I’d like to bring to a state of “completion” include one titled—for now—Marrow: A Metaphysics (focusing on blood), A Synonym For Green (focusing on celebrating the figure of the lesbian!) and I also think I might like to make a manuscript titled Trompe-l’œil And Other Tricks.
You get to curate a reading that features five authors (dead or alive). Who do you choose for your reading?
Gwendolyn Brooks; Harryette Mullen; Cesar Vallejo; George Herbert; Jean Toomer.