The Next Big Thing Interview

What is the title of the book?
My new book of poems is called some deer left the yard moving day.

What genre does your book fall under?
Regional nature-history-Buddhist-travel-poetics. Poetry as hyphen.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Naropa. That is, the artistic community of the university I attended, and its poetic and spiritual lineage. It’s a book of changes, how one changes over time, in relationships with others, being an activating part of a landscape, following a lineage and creatively engaging with others’ words and beings.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The book begins with the first siting of the Mayflower off the coast of Cape Cod, and continues into the future. So it took almost 400 years to write, and I hope, continues being written…

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
The motion picture would be a home movie; all my friends would play themselves. Or variations on themselves. There are cameos by Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Anselm Hollo, via carefully spliced archival footage. Ted Berrigan will be played by 2Pac’s Hologram. The words will be played by the first caveperson who stood between fire and a wall to make animal shapes from hand shadow.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Animal shapes in hand shadow.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I can’t say what might interest the reader, but here’s what interests me. “Mayflower Sutra” is a poetics as historical inquiry: I grew up in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, about 15 miles from Plymouth where English Pilgrims landed, among 1st sites of inquiry of Native Americans with the English Pilgrims (I’m told my maternal lineage traces back to the Mayflower). A few years later, in the ‘second generation’ of settlements, the atrocities of King Philip’s War occured not far from where I live. That part of relational history seems underreported in my region. I’m inspired by the projective verse and historical poetics of Charles Olson, the Poetic Edda (Scandinavian/Norse mythology – which is my paternal genealogy), American Surrealist Pete Winslow and Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo, among others. There’s an appearance by a ‘boy in the black hoodie’ a figure that appeared in this landscape right after the tragic shooting of Trevon Martin in Florida. The past loops back along considerations of race, relationship, place. Plus ca change? All that, in relationship to language.

The rest of the book is long poem in pieces, divided by a subsection. This series alternates open-field pieces in location, seeking understanding across distance; Buddhist considerations; ekphrasis of film; dream anti-narrative prose poems; erasures of Homer’s epic The Iliad. Lateral portals for contemporaneousness.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The album Graceland, by Paul Simon.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
some deer left the yard moving day will be published soon by BlazeVox Books. Please visit blazevox.org to see a full catalog of BlazeVox’s ‘weird little books’.

I tag: Joseph Cooper, Tim Armentrout, Elizabeth Guthrie, Logan Ryan Smith, Bob Roley

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