Andy Fitch with John Sakkis

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John Sakkis (photo by: Monica Redden)

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 John Sakkis’ book, The Islands, and was recorded March 8, 2015 and transcribed by Nicole Monforton.– Andy Fitch

Andy Fitch: The Islands’ first lineated lines (“you can’t skip a rock through / the house without starting fires // you can’t set fire to the beach / in the afternoon without boats”) quickly invoke, maybe just for me, perhaps as pastiche, parody and/or sincere point of reference, a whole poetry or poetics of the island or the archipelago. I hear echoes of stone-skipping openings by Kamau Brathwaite or Derek Walcott, let’s say. On the most obvious, thematics-based level, does any real or imagined poetics of the island have significance for you?