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 Gracie Leavitt’s book Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star and was recorded August 10, 2015 and transcribed by Nicole Monforton.– Andy Fitch
Andy Fitch: I’m wondering if we could start with the Jean-Luc Godard quote that opens but also closes your book. Here Godard refers to tomorrow’s shoot, “filming a scene in the subway, where it goes above ground.” He describes that as a scene still to write—tomorrow perhaps. And Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star seems to present setting or the still life (which I would associate, in cinematic terms, with the set piece, the B-roll, stock footage) as source and site of spontaneity, not as backgrounded scene to take for granted. So could you discuss the importance in this book of that desire, as the opening poem puts it, “to make the going predicate”? We could tie in “Ode of the stirrer-up of” here, which closes on your box of paints. We could discuss various forms of stirring up that this book provides. But what does it mean for you to start with something seemingly static or subdued, and to have that provide the source of animation?