Poetry News

New at Triple Canopy: Lucy Ives Interviews Renee Gladman + An OWS Call and Response

By Harriet Staff

Fresh off their Stein-a-thon (which, we can attest, was a serious, spirited, and well-attended event), Triple Canopy has posted some great great reads to cure these mid-week doldrums.

First up, poet and TC editor Lucy Ives interviews one of our favorite poetic narrativistes, Renee Gladman, about "essays, ditties, half words, partial masks, and being a sentence writer." A bit from that:

LI: What should you be doing with your writing?

RG: If I were a really good drawer I would give up writing and just make beautiful line drawings, or at least for a while that would suffice, but I don’t draw well enough to abandon writing. Sometimes I go around and talk about the sentence and prose, and for a while I was really stuck on how thoughts exist in a preverbal way. I was thinking about how in our minds we have many things going on simultaneously, as images, half words, gestures, partial marks, and from that multiplicity we go into the single line of articulation, of expression. I kept trying to point back to that threshold moment, that translation or becoming. The linguistic selection process, what you decide to privilege, is fascinating to me, but it’s hard to know what to say about it. It makes writing a very interesting space. Writing is not a map, but something that comes after mapping.

LI: Do you think about a reader in that sense?

RG: It’s bewildering enough trying to grasp “the person” in space and time; imagine trying to think about the reader as you write. For me, writing is a kind of pursuit of company that never comes. That comes, but then leaves or gets taken away; a pursuit that, because I write fiction, is embedded in the narrative. It gets acted out in the events of a narrator and another character or group of characters. I guess it is possible to see something about the reader in here.

LI: In the Ravicka novels, the linguistic gesture is itself a character.

RG: It would be much easier to talk about this if we were talking about poetry. In Turkish, when you bring food out to people, the people who are receiving it say, “Health to your hands,” and the person who brought the food says in return, “Health to you.” An encounter could have a bigger sort of performance behind it, so you’re not just saying, “Thank you,” but, “May birds fly through your hair at night.” I wanted to embed in narrative these other symbolic possibilities. Somehow we get the idea that we can’t say what we want, maybe it will make us cry or be too big for our hearts to contain. So we say, “Hi,” but what we really mean is, “Will you pick me up and carry me across the street?”

Read it all.

Next, Triple Canopy has the latest on Occupy through a survey of writers including Eileen Myles, Ariana Reines, Matthew Connors, Mike Andrews, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Ben Tausig, Dan Hoy, and others. Find their "Call and Response" here.

Originally Published: February 2nd, 2012