I always begin with a couple pages of “word bank” generated that way, and then go from there. this is so much more fun than grading comp essays (what I’m supposed to be doing) 🙂 😉 Do you have any is so incredible. I almost felt bad asking the question because I know you have been super busy with the book coming out, but I was wondering if something awesome was coming soon! , in addition to planning a wedding, in addition to, you know, working on my own writing and reading, in addition to being a human person who sometimes likes to eat or sleep.It takes away the confrontation with the empty page and gets me out of my boring on-board native vernacular. It’s a juggling act, but it’s this incredible thing where most of the time (and I mean this absolutely honestly, truly truly) none of it actually feels like work.The poems look like chaos on the page, like unpunctuated blobs, but when you read them you never for a moment lose track of where one sentence (or even one clause) begins and the next ends.The punctuation is organic —there are certain words that, when placed next to other words, always denote the beginning of a new thought.Negar is brilliant and also brilliantly kind and patient with me billion questions about every poem. I have been doing that for years (also from Farsi) and learning how every act of translation is an attempt in failing only slightly better.Can’t wait to read your translations of Negar Emrani’s work. Re: what distinguishes poets from other writers, one thing I’d mention (and this isn’t THE thing, but it is a thing, an attractive ((to me)) thing) is a sense of community. From another angle, what does poetry do that no other medium does (well)?
For me, one of the main relationships that needed to be repaired was my relationship to my cosmological/spiritual self. I find that infinitely fascinating, and also maybe a recent phenomenon, generationally speaking. Would love to hear your recommendations for books on craft—I am a non-MFA poet and always want to learn something new. I think what you said about poets and community is really true, and find it interesting as well. I don’t know where my first experience of that was, but I can tell you that I gave a reading at Emerson College in Boston Sunday night and before I read, I watched this open mic put on by some Emerson undergrads. I couldn’t help but fantasize about when those poets begin to enter the workforce, enter into academia, and become in charge of hiring, reading series, curricula. We’re seeing the best of both worlds braid together. Erin MN: Hi, Kaveh—my name is Erin and I live in a small Northern MN. I never hear novelists talking about their community, or memoirists talking about their community, but poets are constantly discussing citizenship, community-building, always finding ways to up each other. I wanted to cry; it was the most extraordinary thing ever. Brian S: I wonder how much of that comes out of the spoken word world as opposed to more academic poetry, where the audience is kind of supposed to sit there quiet and solemn and somber?But it takes writing those sentences to discover this; it’s not intuitive. My favorite poem to teach is, I think, Russell Edson’s “The Neighborhood Dog.” Something about it vibrates at the exact frequency of my brain. It does everything I love in poems, and though I’ve taught it dozens of times to dozens of different groups of poets, I still don’t really have any idea how to talk about why it works in any sort of critically useful way. Also, it’s important to note that the version of “The Neighborhood Dog” originally published in Lida! Yes yes, I’m a baby translator; I’ve been working with the contemporary Iranian poet Negar Emrani to bring her poems into English for a little over a year now. It’s a doomed pursuit, of course, but so is writing a poem in your own language.
Discovering was the formal breakthrough that opened up the content of all these poems. Chris Forhan, the poet, writes about how finding “syntactical pickaxes” can open up content that had theretofore been inaccessible to you. Yes to the community of poets—the support and love you show one another is inspiring. Has anyone asked you yet if you have a couple favorite poems to teach and reasons why you love teaching them? You’re trying to translate an experience using the clumsy, mechanical process of language. I think that’s fascinating, that kind of idiot bravery.The book is very much an account of that process of repair, which, four and halfish years into sobriety, is still very much ongoing.