Caleb Beckwith with Danny Snelson

Danny Snelson and Caleb Beckwith
Danny Snelson and Caleb Beckwith

This interview concerns Danny Snelson’s Epic Lyric Poem (Troll Thread 2015). It was conducted in person and transcribed by Christy Davids. It is part of the interview collection Reconfiliating: Conversations with Conceptual-Affiliated Writers (Essay Press 2015), which also includes interviews J Gordon Faylor and Divya Victor, as well as an afterword by Joseph Mosconi.

Caleb Beckwith: I’d like to talk about Epic Lyric Poem as well as some related practices in so-called conceptual writing. This may sound heterodox, but I read ELP as a narrative in which the lyric plays the central character. The book opens with an incantatory proem, which it follows with an invocation of the muses and a rising sense of conflict that ultimately resolves. I may be reading too closely here, but I want to ask about the role of narrative in this book. The first word in the title is “Epic,” a highly established form—maybe we can begin there.