Cristiana Baik with Farid Matuk

To celebrate The Conversant’s evolving relationship with The Volta website collective over its five year run, Senior Editors Ching-In Chen and Caleb Beckwith have selected pieces from our archives which exemplify that relationship for our October issue. This conversation was originally part of our April 2014 issue. Enjoy!

Farid Matuk
Farid Matuk

Along with Andy Fitch, Cristiana Baik is assembling the Letter Machine Editions Book of Interviews, which also includes interviews conducted by Noah Eli Gordon and Joshua Marie Wilkinson. This talk will be published in that collection, due for late 2014 release.

Cristiana Baik: When introducing your work, Noah Eli Gordon evoked Keats’s negative capability, the idea that “man is capable of being in uncertainties.” Would you describe your work and poetics as reflective of and shaped by negative capability?

Farid Matuk: I would, yes, to the extent that I try to court a space in the poem where contradictory impulses, perspectives, discourses and images can play together.

Cristiana Baik with Peter Streckfus

Peter Streckfus
Peter Streckfus

This interview with Peter Streckfus, conducted by Cristiana Baik, focuses on Streckfus’ The Cuckoo and his most recent collection, Errings.

Cristiana Baik: A decade separates the publication of your two collections, The Cuckoo (Yale University Press, 2004) and Errings (Fordham University Press, 2014). Have your thoughts about poetry and poetics shifted, changed during this time?

Peter Streckfus: The Cuckoo’s faulty heroes are largely alone on their quests. I think of its lyric utterance happening in solitude, the unaccompanied traveler whistling half-remembered songs, the cuckoo itself singing from the densest of trees, close to the trunk, almost always out of view.

Cristiana Baik with Sawako Nakayasu

Sawako Nakayasu
Photo of Sawako Nakayasu courtesy of Mitsuo Okamoto

Along with Andy Fitch, Cristiana Baik is assembling the Letter Machine Editions Book of Interviews, which also includes interviews conducted by Noah Eli Gordon and Joshua Marie Wilkinson. This talk will be published in that collection, due for late 2014 release.

Cristiana Baik: In Hurry Home Honey and Texture Notes, objects, situations, circumstances are always changing directions, shifting, in transit, “ru[ning] off and towards…” Do the poems’ constant movements reflect ways you experience place and time?

Sawako Nakayasu: It’s possible that I move around a lot in my life. In general there’s been a lot of changes in terms of geography, from Japan to New York to Cupertino (California) to San Diego to France/Europe to Providence to Tokyo, back to various parts of the U.S., then to China and Japan.