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A New York City Interview With Julien Poirier

By Harriet Staff

This weekend’s edition of Hyperallergic features an interview with Julien Poirier by Jeffrey Grunthaner (“Going Crazy in New York and San Francisco: An Interview with Poet Julien Poirier”), who caught up with the now-California-based poet on his most recent trip to New York City. In Poirier’s book, Out of Print (City Lights, 2016), “Poirier is writing for the moment,” Grunthaner explains, “so it was gratifying to capture another moment when I interviewed him at a little coffee shop on the Lower East Side. For the duration of time it took to drink a cup of coffee, we talked about writing, the importance of death for comedy, teaching poetry to kids, and the specter of literary posterity.” From there:

Jeffrey Grunthaner: Based on reading your work, it seems like you really enjoy writing.

Julien Poirier: Yeah, I do. Definitely.

JG: Do you build up poems from fragments? What’s your process like?

JP: Over the course of writing this book it certainly didn’t feel fragmented. When I was living in New York I was constructing poems more from other poems, doing cut-ups and experimenting with different ways of building up poems. But more recently it became more … the poems would just sort of come out, or not. I don’t think I spent more than a few minutes rewriting any of the poems in there.

JG: I feel like there’s an almost Whitman-like impetus behind your work. For example, at the beginning of “Investigation”:

    A thousand poets are working together
    on this same great poem but they don’t know it
    yet, only you and I can make this obvious
    — and many of my favorites are alive to this compulsion
    though their practice demands a temporary, however
    longterm deflection of the obvious.

Is this sincere?

JP: Well, the comic idea is to take something as far as possible, like rhetoric. So you start out with a hunch, you start following it and try to get out to the edge of that hunch.

Read on at Hyperallergic.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, April 17th, 2017 by Harriet Staff.