Over the summer, Andy Fitch has interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Gander and Kinsella’s book Redstart: An Ecological Poetics (University of Iowa Press, 2012). Recorded on June 18th. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.
Andy Fitch: I’m not much interested in classifications of genre or discipline, but given Redstart’s early consideration of the efficacy of ecopoetics, I would be curious to hear you two describe this book’s primary functions, specifically its positioning of authorial agency. In an early essay Forrest outlines the possibility for a mediated, interactive, relational practice to construct an ongoing textual environment, one that might promote ecological-minded orientations among its audiences. John later provides a thornbill-inspired poetics of the passerine—a process which allows for cross-movement and cross-reference, even as the group internally migrates from place to place, thereby contesting categorical identities without abdicating collective agency. That all makes sense as a theory of this book. But I’m curious of the extent to which you wish for Redstart, in Forrest’s words, to “make something happen.” What would that something be? How does it depart from prevailing conventions in ecopoetics?