Dara Wier talks to poet Ben Mirov over at the Studio One Reading Series blog (Mirov is reading for Studio One in Oakland this Friday, Sept. 2). They chat about Ben's new book, Hider Roser (coming out soon from Octopus Books), and fragility and revision:

BM: ...I edit lines down for grammatical simplicity, so that they, hopefully, attain a structural integrity and or lyrical quality that bolsters their “fragile” content. I break lines and or tease out rhymes that enhance the poems object-like qualities. All this is in order to embody the ephemera of the content without undermining it. After a while, if a poem is successful, it takes an advantageous form, one that will hopefully enable it to deliver its messages and survive entropic dissipation.

As well as observation, the new notnostrums, and nines and threes:

DW: Wow, I just read your poems “#0.99999” and “#23.33” in the new notnostrums, with atoms and little dots and a very wonderful notice that goes along the lines of “…you only see once / and you don't get to share.” That directly speaks to surving entropic dissipation. Thanks for saying how your work develops, and finally, can you tell me something about the titles I mention. I love 9s for sure, so 3s are great too.

BM: I love nines and threes, too. Those poems in notnostrums are from a collection of poems called the Analects of Confusion, loosely based on the Analects of Confucius, of which I’ve only read a few pages. I thought it would be funny to write a bunch of poems that had a didactic tone, but sort of undermined there moral authority by spiraling into confusion and ambiguity. Using numbers as titles was my idea of cataloging the poems in a completely unorganized manner. Most of the time the number relates to the content of the poem. In the case of the ones in notnostrums, “#0.99999” was intended to have the little line over the last nine [#0.99999], which is a mathematical symbol denoting that the series of nines extends infinitely. Most of the moments in the poem are similar in that they meditate on mysteries that aren’t resolved. The poem moves from paradox to paradox without resolution sort of like the potentially endless string of 9s represented by the title. Also, “0.99999” is on the verge of being the number 1.0, much like the poem, which is on the verge of understanding without ever reaching it. I don’t remember why I went with the title “#23.33,” maybe I thought it was a funny number or it just appealed to me.

Read the entire interview here.

Originally Published: August 31st, 2011