Johannes Göransson with H.L. Hix

Johannes Göransson

This interview by H.L. Hix is one of a series, many of which will be collected in Alter Nation: America in Recent Poetry, Recent Poetry in America, from Ugly Duckling Presse (fall 2012). Hix loves the interview form as a way of thinking together (itself a condition of democracy, justice, philosophy, and other ideals and practices he values), and as one element in a community poetics. The subject of this interview with Johannes Göransson is his translation of Aase Berg’s Remainland (Action Books, 2005).

H.L. Hix: Would it be in the spirit of your concluding observation in the “Translator’s Note” (that Berg “shows how every language may be foreign, even to its native speakers” [ix]) to take as one example of such a made-foreign language the ending of “In Dovre Slate Mill” when the speaker’s “stiff hands cupped around the surface of your black cranium” (21), a kind of translation of a gesture of love into a foreign language?

Johannes Göransson: What I mean in a very general sense is the way Berg amplifies certain features of the Swedish language—the brutal consonants, the awkward sentence structures, the neologisms, the violent and physical phrases—to a degree that makes me feel the way a foreigner might feel trying to learn Swedish.

Don Mee Choi with H.L. Hix

Don Mee Choi

This interview by H.L. Hix is one of a series, many of which will be collected in Alter Nation: America in Recent Poetry, Recent Poetry in America, from Ugly Duckling Presse (fall 2012). Hix loves the interview form as a way of thinking together (itself a condition of democracy, justice, philosophy, and other ideals and practices he values), and as one element in a community poetics. The subject of this interview with Don Mee Choi is her translation of Kim Hyesoon’s Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (Action Books, 2008).

H. L. Hix: The speaker in “Face” speculates that “Maybe I am the hostage of an absent being” (70). I suspect it’s always misleading to seize on one moment in a poem and seek in it some “message” about the whole poem or collection, but is there some meaningful sense in which one might take this as a characterization of the state all the poems resist, a figure for the “blackened space” your introduction identifies as the space in which all Koreans, but especially Korean women, live?  Given the neocolonial relationship you note, in what ways would you expect American readers to find in the poems similarities with their own experience, and in what ways would you expect them to find contrasts to their own experience?

Don Mee Choi: I think it might be best for me to begin by saying something about Kim Hyesoon’s hell.

Sina Queyras with H.L. Hix

Sina Queyras

This interview by H.L. Hix is one of a series, many of which will be collected in Alter Nation: America in Recent Poetry, Recent Poetry in Americafrom Ugly Duckling Presse (fall 2012). Hix loves the interview form as a way of thinking together (itself a condition of democracy, justice, philosophy, and other ideals and practices he values), and as one element in a community poetics. The subject of this interview is Sina Queyras’s Teethmarks (Nightwood Editions, 2004).

H. L. Hix: At least in the book’s second section, the centrality of Cindy Sherman (especially combined with the Berger references) suggests something I suspect is also true of the other sections also, namely that women’s experience—as contrasted to men’s experience and distinct from what human experience may be shared across gender—is a focal concern. I take it as among the various implications of Sherman’s work that one such gender-specific aspect of experience is im-personation—our ways of creating/receiving our identities and inhabiting them. Am I right to hear the same implication in this sequence of poems?

Sina Queyras: Yes, identities are of concern to me, not only gendered identities, but identities, and perhaps more so the awareness or extent to which we are conscious of the activity of creating identities.

Camille Dungy with Leonard Schwartz

Poet Camille Dungy. Photo © Ray Black.

In honor of Litmus Press’ forthcoming collection of Leonard Schwartz interviews with female poets, we will offer an ongoing series of transcribed talks from Schwartz’s “Cross-Cultural Poetics” archives

From CCP episode #221: Ecopoetics. October 19, 2010. Transcribed by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guest on the phone from the Bay area, I’m very happy to say, is Camille Dungy. She’s professor in the creative writing department at San Francisco State University, and is the author of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. She’s helped to edit a number of poetry anthologies and most recently, she’s edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry published by the University of Georgia Press. Welcome Camille Dungy.

Camille Dungy: Thank you.

LS: Great to have you on the line and to have your anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, in hand. Can you say a little bit about this project and its ambitions?

Waiting on the Mayflower: Evie Shockley with Leonard Schwartz

Poet Evie Shockley

In honor of Litmus Press’ forthcoming collection of Leonard Schwartz interviews with female poets, we will offer an ongoing series of transcribed talks from Schwartz’s “Cross-Cultural Poetics” archives. This interview with Evie Shockley,

From CCP Episode #77: Four Across, originally conducted in 2005. Transcription by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guest on the phone from North Carolina is Evie Shockley. She’s the author of The Gordon Goddess, and a new manuscript, a half-red sea, poems, which have been published in numerous literary periodicals. She’s got a new job teaching at Rutgers University and will be moving to New Brunswick soon. Welcome, Evie Shockley.

Evie Shockley: Hi!

LS: Hi. Great to have you on the line. I’ve really been enjoying the poems in a half-red sea. You begin the book with two epigraphs: one from a letter from Phillis Wheatley, and the second a poem from Lucille Clifton. Can you say a little bit about the influence or the relationship of these two figures to your poems?