This conversation between 1913 Press authors Cynthia Arrieu-King and Lily Hoang began with their latest books. Unlikely Conditions (1913 Press) is Cynthia Arrieu-King’s collaboration with the late Hillary Gravendyk. Lily Hoang’s A Bestiary was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center.
Cynthia Arrieu-King: Where did these essays begin for you? What does essay writing allow you to do that poetry might not? Or does it matter to you at all?
Lily Hoang: Form and genre are really important to me, actually. I am insistent when I call these essays—and it all goes back to etymology, right? To essai: to trial, to experiment—even though it’s already been classified as both poetry and fiction. The essay declares itself as a challenge, to self and to form, by definition. This isn’t fiction’s concern, at all, and I’m a fiction writer, first and foremost, and so the rhetorical qualities of the essay—its ethos, pathos, and logos—were also foreign concepts to me, things that I had to learn. I think the essay demands a self-rigor that isn’t necessary in fiction, which is not to say that fiction isn’t rigorous! (I’m not really qualified to talk about poetry in the least so I’ll leave that kind of thinking to the poets and scholars.) All of which is to say: the essays in A Bestiary are essays, intentionally so, I argue they adhere to form and follow the rules of the genre. But that wasn’t in question at all, sorry.
In her interview program The Last Word, Cynthia Arrieu-King interviews amateur and professional poets and writers most often in the South Jersey and tri-state area. This program features Kate and Max Greenstreet.
In her interview program The Last Word, Cynthia Arrieu-King interviews amateur and professional poets and writers most often in the South Jersey and tri-state area. This program features poets Eric Baus and Dorothea Lasky.
Andy Fitch: Collaborative books make me obsessed with process. We could start with the poem “Shoe-Tree,” even just that phrase “shoe tree.” I’ll sense two different voices: one mimetic-tending, one more opaque. Of course both could come from a single author, but here I picture two people contributing, amid some primal scene, almost sexual. So where do these poems start for you?
Sophia Kartsonis: Cindy, can you remember? I think that was your line.
Cynthia Arrieu-King: What’s our first poem? The shoe tree poem?
Over the next year, Andy Fitch will be asking participants from his Ugly Duckling Presse interview project to pair up and interview each other. By placing parallel interviews alongside his own, Fitch hopes to demonstrate that no one talk is definitive, that there are an infinitude of possible trajectories for such a discussion to take. In this interview, Cynthia Arrieu-King and Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis discuss their collaborative chapbook, By Some Miracle A Year Lousy with Meteors (Dream Horse).
Since 2006, Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis and Cynthia Arrieu-King have been getting their collaborative poems written via e-mail, usually between phone calls about holiday cookie eating tallies. They are not sure if it is the sugar or the holidays that bring into being their third mind extra yogic poetry brain. Upon returning to these poems, it is hard for either of these poets to recall who wrote what unless it has a hyphen in it/sounds like a kenning, in which case it was Sophia or there is a bunch of hard consonants smashed together in which case it was Cindy. On this audio recording, they type out a poem (based on this article) in almost real time, ask each other questions like “What is on our coat of arms?” and dial up the compatibility of their astrological charts.
[mp3j track=”Kartsonis and King@http://theconversant.org/staging/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Kartsonis-and-King-audio.mp3″ caption=”Listen to the conversation”]
In her interview program The Last Word, Cynthia Arrieu-King interviews amateur and professional poets and writers most often in the South Jersey and tri-state area. Her subject for this interview is poet Hillary Gravendyk. [mp3j track=”Hillary Gravendyk Interview@http://theconversant.org/staging/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Gravendyk-podcast-complete-Conversant.mp3″ caption=”with Cynthia Arrieu-King”]
In her interview program The Last Word, Cynthia Arrieu-King interviews amateur and professional poets and writers in the South Jersey and tri-state area. Her subject for this interview is poet Kathleen Graber.