PSA/ Nick Flynn & Alizah Salario Interview/ Tao Lin & Ben Lerner Interview
This bit of my adolescence will be going into a poem of mine today hopefully:
Also wanted to pass on two interviews I read this week which I found really engaging. The first, of Nick Flynn by Alizah Salario, can be found via the Poetry Foundation site. I really like Nick Flynn. I met him before I read any of his work; he came to the Fence Books release reading I was part of last November. He bought my book and had me sign it, which in some ways was just comic but, more importantly, he was clearly communicating through that and through just his every move and word, that he was trying to be very gentle and loving with the world and the people in it. Now that I’ve gone and read his work, I realize the fragility of his background and research probably demands such a demeanor. Well, not demands. Cause any background can lead anywhere. But good on you, Flynn, for taking it to where you’re at. I’ve read a few interviews of him now, and each is more interesting than the last. He gave a self-inteview last year at the Nervous Breakdown, (where I recently did one as well [sort of]), and what he does with the interview form I feel is really taking good advantage of its traditions. He also has one in the Superstition Review (where I have also been published, along with a group of other writers I’m really into–a very good issue on the whole, I thought) that I like a lot. So see what you have time for and catch up as you can maybe. I remember my dad came to my apartment a few months ago, where I had Flynn’s “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City” lying around, and my dad read it in a day. Flynn’s good, check him out.
Speaking of good interviews, stayed up way past my bedtime last night reading this interview Tao Lin has with Ben Lerner. Thanks to Blake Butler for posting it on HTMLGIANT (where I learned of it). Lerner is another person whose interviews I pretty much always read. I maybe have given his work more attention than I’ve given to any other living writer’s work in the past few years, which I feel is especially interesting because he’s so young, just a few years older than me (I’m 28, he’s 32 or 33 I think). Or maybe that only makes sense. I’m actually very surprised that reviewers of my book haven’t made reference to Lerner…ever, to my knowledge…because I feel our works have a whole lot in common. If nothing else, our first books are both ruined sonnet sequences full of pop culture references mixed with high art references and tons of twisted cliches. It goes way beyond that, even, but that seems like enough to merit comparison…even criticism, since my book came out seven years after his first one. Because we were both doing such similar things with cliche and idiom, after I was introduced to his book (by the poet Daniel Bosch), I had to go back through my half-written manuscript and just cross lines out completely because they were making the same play or something; some were almost word for word what Lerner had already published three years prior.
Tao Lin, another really interesting writer, if you don’t know his stuff, does a fine job, I feel, of giving a lot of space in his interview of Lerner and inputting just the right amount to have Lerner counter with really exacting responses. Lerner just put out a new novel (see interview), which I will be finishing right after I write this probably, and I’m sure I will revisit that on this blog. I could go through the litany of essays and interviews I’ve read of Lerner, but it’d be easier to just link to this page for him, which is not quite but almost comprehensive of his works online. However, I would be remiss not to at least point to this interview Lerner did of Rae Armantrout at Bomb Magazine, which is not listed at the above link for some reason. It discusses her book “Money shot” and is a discourse on, among other things, Porn’s relationship to the economy in ways I found really right on.
Okay. that’s more stuff than anyone could read in a year. Good Luck and have a good day.