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Ed Bok Lee on Place, Being Turned On, Iron Maiden and More!

By Harriet Staff

See this interview with Ed Bok Lee on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop website.

A snippet:

Your poetry is so passionate without spinning out of control. For example, “Sweet Men” might be one of the most interestingly sexy poems ever. You move from a memory of your father disciplining you with a 2×4 to considering some surprisingly erotic, tender memories. I could say volumes about that, but I’ll restrain myself. What’s erotic to you about poetry? What turns you on?

Metaphor-making is pleasurable in any form. At the deepest sub-stratum of all poetry, it seems to me, aches the interconnectedness of everything. So fusing two or more disparate things together in new, enlivening, meaningful ways—whether they’re images or ideas or colors or notes of music or culinary ingredients or bodies or subtle moments in time—feels very erotic.

Tell me more about your interests. Are there any things that our readers would be surprised to hear you are into?

The first concert I ever went to was Iron Maiden? I love documentaries about animals?

I’m suspicious of anyone who doesn’t! Any particular ones?

I just saw “Animal Odd Couples.” It’s about special, cross-species friendships between animals, like between a tortoise and a goose, a deer and a dog, a cheetah and a retriever. There’s a goat that has more love and compassion than probably any human I know, with none of the ego. He guides an old, blind horse around for over a decade, for no apparent reason other than love and compassion. I experienced something like this in the desert. The animals look out for one another. And sometimes they ask you for help, as well.

What’s up next for you? What projects are you working on?

Poems, and a fiction manuscript.

Do you want to say more about this new project, or is it still too tender and dear to bring outside?

It probably still can’t yet speak for itself, so I better not try, lest it punish me, the vindictive bastard.

Much more here.

Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, November 29th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.