Q & A: Randall Mann
What makes the poem a song?
It’s a ballad of sorts; it has some of the music of a song.
The tourists are “recidivists”? What do you mean by that?
Travel has been an excuse for me to backslide into bad habits (the bathhouse foam in the poem; the vice). And I like the sound of “tourists” and “recidivists” in the same line.
How does Vallejo enter the poem?
I have always liked the arbitrary specificity of Vallejo’s death on a Thursday in “Black Stone on a White Stone”; also, “Song” is about not dying in Paris, which means it’s about dying in Paris, which means I must have been thinking about Vallejo. And of course I was.
Can you say what, if anything, these three poems have in common? They seem related.
Forms, accessories, sex, and death.
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This poem originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Poetry magazine