Lara Mimosa Montes with Masha Tupitsyn

Masha Tupitsyn
Masha Tupitsyn

In her new book, Love Dog, Masha Tupitsyn, known for her genre-defying books and essays on film, continues to impress, as she revels in the critical possibilities provided by the short essay, the fragment and the screenshot. Her hybrid non-fiction has been praised for its dazzling capacity for intimacy while also maintaining a “tender attentiveness, and perceptive humor.” Without exception, Love Dog remains a vigilant and attentive text, one deeply concerned with the project of radical love in an increasingly slick and collapsed world.

Love Dog, which follows, LACONIA: 1,200 Tweets on Film, is the second book in Tupitsyn’s trilogy of immaterial writing. Much like its predecessor, LACONIA, a book of contemporary aphorisms on film that Brain Pickings described as “an ingenious experiment in fragmented film criticism,” Love Dog critically examines the relationships between love, cinema, feminism and digital culture by experimenting with a variety of media and literary forms. As a lover of the paratextual, it’s hard not to fall in love with such a work, which openly declares itself as one to be “read, listened to, and watched.” The decisive rigor and carefulness invested in every page of Tupitsyn’s multi-media manifesto, written as a blog on Tumblr, results in a beautiful and ethically compelling read. Part lover’s diary, mixtape and philosopher’s notebook, Love Dog investigates the ways in which the cultural comes into contact with the lover-as-thinker and the thinker-as-lover. As a writer, Tupitsyn’s intuitive and interpretive eye never misses a beat as she sharply observes the significance of such uncanny, fortuitous, traumatic, and serendipitous collisions. Given her reputation for anticipating future forms of criticism, I anticipate and curiously await the 3rd installment of the series, the sound installation, “Love Tests/Love Sounds,” an audio montage of love in cinema. “So much of what is moving in Tupitsyn’s criticism,” writes Elaine Castillo in Big Other, “is her way of locating, animating and mourning the loss of the material, the loss of texture, the loss of the real—where material, texture and realness are qualities as spiritual and moral as they are embodied.

John Cassavetes, Love Streams, 1984John Cassavetes, Love Streams, 1984

Lara Mimosa Montes: Let’s start at “the wrong moment,” as it were. In Love Dog you write, “You have to begin with the wrong moment.” Which moment initially catapulted you into this moment with this project?

Masha Tupitsyn: I don’t know how to answer this question. It’s hard for me because I still don’t have the answer, and I might never have it. It is the great enigma of my life and therefore the book. I am still in suspense over the question of love. Still in the Hanged Man space. I met someone I wasn’t supposed to meet, X—the wrong person or the wrong time—and it rattled me completely. But the encounter was Evental. Through writing Love Dog, I tried to understand why what happened was also about what doesn’t happen, and why what doesn’t happen is part of what happens.

Gina Myers and Amber Nelson

Gina Myers and Amber Nelson
Gina Myers and Amber Nelson

Gina Myers and Amber Nelson talk to each other about their new books, both published by Coconut Books.

Gina Myers: Each section throughout your collection starts off with an epigraph from Hélène Cixous’ The Book of Promethea. Can you discuss the importance of that book to you and also how it bears on In Anima: Urgency?

Amber Nelson: I can try, but it’s a pretty big question. It’s sort of like asking: So what’s this book about? I’m not sure that I will ever be able to separate Promethea from In Anima—they were so intrinsically linked in the process of making In Anima a whole thing.

Philip Metres with Arvo Mets

Arvo Mets
Arvo Mets

This interview series, “Conversations after the Fall: Interviews with Contemporary Russian Poets,” began as part of my Thomas J. Watson Fellowship year (1992-1993). The interview with Arvo Mets, regarded a master of Russian free verse, took place in 1993. Thanks to Danny Caine for his editorial suggests.

Philip Metres: When did you begin writing poems?

Arvo Mets: I wrote poems in childhood, in Estonian. But rhymed poems came out poorly for me; I always felt that something just wasn’t quite right. The real poetic breakthrough happened when I was twenty-three, in the spring of 1961. In March I wrote my first poems, and it kept going from there. In 1961 I wrote and wrote, in 1962 wrote and wrote without rest. Like a racer on a horse.

Jon Curley with Joseph Donahue

Joseph Donahue
Joseph Donahue

This interview series poses one question over and over again to a slew of poets of various aesthetic modes. My intention is two-fold: to encourage these poets to examine and imagine whatever notions and natures they discern in their work, and to trace their thoughts about conceptual alternatives to the patterns and trajectories they perceive there. In thinking otherwise, against usual models or presiding instincts, they are free to delve into various realms of possibilities, creating fresh commentary on their current practice and procedures, and theoretical visions which might guide them ideally, provisionally, even counterintuitively. The prompt in some cases generates follow-up questions which the subject can agree to answer or just ignore, and keep silent (silence, too, is a kind of answer). After all, the free-play prospects my line of questioning wishes to pursue must also consider the poets’ freedom to take it on their terms, not my own.

Jon Curley: Can you envision what kinds of poems, whether structurally or thematically, you might consider writing beyond the realm of your past practice? Are there elements of poems outside your usual patterns and activities you might try
to integrate into your work?

Joseph Donahue: For a while now I have been writing essentially two kinds of poetry, the lyrics that comprise the ongoing cycle called Terra Lucida, and then some other thing. That other thing I characterize to myself in various ways, as associative flights, digressive amble, spirit walkabout, oneric ode, phenomenological epic fail, breakfast with the dead. These can be found in the works that are not a part of the Terra Lucida cycle, gathered in books such as Before Creation, Monitions of the Approach, World Well Broken, Incidental Eclipse, and the forthcoming Red Flash on a Black Field. These two kinds of poetry exist in an antithetical relationship, with the contrasting poles variously understood as, say, song and speech, vertical and horizontal, static and moving, sacred and profane, uttered and overheard.

J’Lyn Chapman with Brenda Coultas

Brenda Coultas
Brenda Coultas

In April, Jack Kerouac School MFA students in my “Documentary Poetry” course read Brenda Coultas’ A Handmade Museum. At this point in the semester, students were completing their own documentary poetry projects, so one will notice that the questions relate to craft as well as to the role of the poet as documentarian or archivist.

Interview with Jaclyn Hawkins, Janelle Fine, Shitu Rajbhandari, JH Phrydas, Angelica Maria Barraza, Caitlan Mitchell, Ashley Margaret and Katharine Kaufman.

The Class: In “The Bowery Project,” how did you make decisions about structure and organization? For instance, the dates reveal it was not a method of linearity but perhaps one of item associations or the opposite, a panoramic diorama.

Brenda Coultas: As the project developed and became clearer, I began to add the dates and to take a weekly roll of photos. Once I had enough data, I began to shape it, but I didn’t want to be wedded to a timeline, so the narrative is based on balance, of creating a portrait, and of beauty.

Andy Fitch with Joel Craig

Joel Craig

Last summer, Andy Fitch interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Joel Craig’s book The White House (Green Lantern). Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: From talking to you in the past, I know music metaphors come easily, that we could call the progression from poem to poem an arrangement, could consider it a macrocosm of the meticulous mix within any individual piece. I hope we get to all that. But first, The White House seemed to offer several basic types of poems—the long sequences of indented prose blocks, the testimonial projects suggesting unauthorized biographies or autobiographies, and then shorter, more emotive and/or opaque lyric flourishes. Variety abounds in how you put these types together, with distinctive uses of lineation, speech-based idioms, elliptical juxtapositions. So here’s the question: did the different types appear over discrete spurts, during the many years that this book came together? Did you develop all three types simultaneously? Do you feel further drawn to working within or among those types?

Joel Craig: That makes sense to describe three rough styles. I think of the indented pieces as travelogue poems, sometimes mixed with real elements of travel. When traveling I tend to concentrate on physical spaces I visit and people I meet, and therefore voices I hear. Then other poems get born more out of my past—the dense little jewels that reflect my love for surrealism. They can seem, as you say, kind of opaque and dark-humored. And the diffuse, biographical-style poems share with these first two types the fact that multiple voices make up their lyric “voice.” Both the travelogue style and the biographical/monologue style I hope to keep expanding and exploring.

Andy Fitch with Joel Craig

Joel Craig
Joel Craig

Last summer, Andy Fitch interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Joel Craig’s book The White House (Green Lantern). Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: From talking to you in the past, I know music metaphors come easily, that we could call the progression from poem to poem an arrangement, could consider it a macrocosm of the meticulous mix within any individual piece. I hope we get to all that. But first, The White House seemed to offer several basic types of poems—the long sequences of indented prose blocks, the testimonial projects suggesting unauthorized biographies or autobiographies, and then shorter, more emotive and/or opaque lyric flourishes. Variety abounds in how you put these types together, with distinctive uses of lineation, speech-based idioms, elliptical juxtapositions. So here’s the question: did the different types appear over discrete spurts, during the many years that this book came together? Did you develop all three types simultaneously? Do you feel further drawn to working within or among those types?

Joel Craig: That makes sense to describe three rough styles. I think of the indented pieces as travelogue poems, sometimes mixed with real elements of travel. When traveling I tend to concentrate on physical spaces I visit and people I meet, and therefore voices I hear. Then other poems get born more out of my past—the dense little jewels that reflect my love for surrealism. They can seem, as you say, kind of opaque and dark-humored. And the diffuse, biographical-style poems share with these first two types the fact that multiple voices make up their lyric “voice.” Both the travelogue style and the biographical/monologue style I hope to keep expanding and exploring.