Poetry News

Hey Dana Ward, What's Up?

By Harriet Staff

Over at Take Down the Clouds, Dana Ward gives a series of spirited answers to a handful of questions, as per the format. We love the answer Dana gives to the prompt: What are you working on and what have you got coming out? Here's a slice of the interview:

I’m working on this long poem called “Some Other Deaths of Bas Jan Ader,” although it’s only glancingly about BJA. It concerns itself mainly with occasions of happiness, luxury, & mutual aid, & interrogates those instances under the sign of ‘appearance,’ how appearance is regulated by a number of systemic disasters, how happiness is leveraged by violence, how the representational logic of hegemony makes gratitude & praise a difficult (but necessary) tradition to pursue in contemporary writing. Here’s a little bit—

“My Bas Jan Ader thoughts were like a nice boy ourosbouros that carousel’d away in my body. Either get god or full communization (for meaning) is what the circle plainly said, repeating, as when ‘my’ love is nothing then it’s nothing like the sky reflects the emptiness present in owning my life reflects blue of impossible gratitude sapphire made to be strung in a dream catcher hung in the window to plume with the ‘night of the world’”

Then I sort of re-write that super-famous Hegel bit about the night of the world but with some other stuff coming in from the side, things that get between all that emptiness & stuff from the computer that links up to other figural aspects of the poem returning in what is essentially ‘the third act.’ & yes it does have an un-ironized posture toward dream catchers. It is very much that kind of poem. Anyway, it also has a lot of moving parts. I’ve been despondent regarding my ability to coordinate them this summer. It all seems a bit clearer of late (thank god!) but I feel like this is last of these “Bohemian Rhapsody” type records I want to write for awhile. I always like to imagine what must have been a scene of rare hilarity & experimental exuberance in the studio when Queen worked on putting that together. They must have been breathless both from laughter at its monumental (deeply moving) silliness as well as overjoyed by the grandeur of it. I wish I could accomplish something so tonally complex. I wish Freddie Mercuy were still alive. & Whitney Houston. &, well, that list would need more volumes than the Zohar which I’ve been thinking of lately since it’s mentioned often in Jarnot’s Duncan biography. Apparently his edition of it was so enormous it required a room of its own at their place in San Francisco. The list I’m thinking of would have that scale.

As to coming out—the poem I mentioned above will be published as a book by Flowers & Cream, & Futurepoem is bringing out this book I wrote last year called the Crisis of Infinite Worlds. I think they’ll be copies of that come December.

Thanks, Dana!

Originally Published: September 25th, 2012