Poetry News

Lonely Christopher & Gregory Laynor on the Gift Economy (Twice)

By Harriet Staff

We're just now seeing this great interview with Lonely Christopher at EOAGH! The poet, writer, playwright and filmmaker talks with Gregory Laynor about the gift economy, “the embarrassing language of self,” Gertrude Stein ("Well, Gertrude Stein never read Judith Butler, she invented her"), various art forms and how they relate to "being gay," John Ashbery, and more. An excerpt:

Gregory Laynor: When you were in Seattle, somewhere between the gallery, Pony, IHOP, and the apartment, we were in the rain, singing Steve Reich’s “Come Out” and “It’s Gonna Rain.” What do you think of Jasper Johns (or John Ashbery), Dinosaurs, and the gift economy?

Lonely Christopher: You already asked that question, but please publish this because your restatement of the question provides new information. When I am outside in the rain I am wont to either sing “Singing in the Rain” or “It’s Gonna Rain.” The gift economy, it turns out, is just a sub-hegemony that is fucking us all up.

Gregory Laynor: I want to ask you about poetry, movies, plays, stories, and other things. What do you think of these? And what do you think they have to do with being gay?

Lonely Christopher: I think every form has its own grammar, so each is good for something. That is why I like to write poetry, movies, plays, stories, and other things. The translation of that concept to paradigms of human sexuality is probably evident. But, for the record, I am not gay. I am a faggot.

Gregory Laynor: Have you seen John Ashbery’s “It Gets Better” video?

Lonely Christopher: John Ashbery invented the glass closet, so I don’t think he’s reaching out to the Glee generation with a video blog. But if I get not to be gay, then Ashbery certainly isn’t “gay.” He’s just some sort of intelligent sea sponge who writes the best poetry ever. I can say that because I know he will never read this because he doesn’t know what the Internet is.

Gregory Laynor: The people are the heroes now. What do you think of conceptual poetry and twinks fucking on a swan?

Lonely Christopher: Conceptual poetry is valuable but, as our friend Jason Zuzga would say, “too clever by half.” As we all know, the conceptual poets have entered a well-earned phase of crisis. I don’t particularly care. The people aren’t always the heroes, but right now, as Nixon’s China sang, I do believe the people are the heroes. We have just got to own up to ourselves. But I really don’t care. I shall dip back into aesthetics all the while trying to find truth in it all. That is why I love the image of twinks fucking on a swan. But I don’t think, at this time, it is possible for any audience to understand what that means to you and me. (For the uninitiated, I am working on a novel called Twinks Fucking on a Swan and have a Tumblr called Pixelated Twinks.) I am always looking for a way to let everybody in on twinks fucking on a swan. And everything else. . . .

Read the full interview, which includes some poems from LC, here.

Originally Published: November 16th, 2012