After publishing my Sixty Morning Talks interview collection, I have begun work on a more focused, single-press interview series, offering a comprehensive oral history (a cinéma vérité, in prose) of Nightboat Books’ diverse and ambitious output over its first decade of publication. For this newer project, it particularly interests me to track interpersonal and intertextual constellations that have helped to shape the work done by Nightboat’s authors, publishers and designers. Nightboat will publish this interview collection late next year. This interview focuses on Brandon Som’s The Tribute Horse and was recorded August 21, 2015 and transcribed by Nicole Monforton.– Andy Fitch
Andy Fitch: In college, I read Houston Baker, Jr.’s claim that the sound of train wheels running across train tracks remains the dominant trope or onomatopoeic device of all blues music, of any blues idiom (musical or otherwise) still rippling outwards in ever-more diversified cultural profusion. I loved the breath of Baker’s sweeping structuralist claim, regardless of its accuracies. I had forgotten about it until reading The Tribute Horse. So I wonder if you could begin to describe what prompted, or how you went about, sounding the sea here. And of course, we could ask whether one ever can sound the Pacific’s depths. But could you address sounding that sea, the passage across that sea (or singing beyond the genius of the sea, if we want to consider points of literary reference) by bringing in, as this book does, whatever personal, social, historical, literary/aesthetic impulses seem to fit best?