Interesting post a couple of days ago at the Ploughshares blog about benefactors. I have mixed feelings about the idea of patronage, especially the support of a single artist by a single wealthy benefactor. Sure, […]
Ambulatory sisters— sister somnambulists— sorority of sleep-hikers— we are crossing a bridge. We’ve crossed our uncle & our fiancés will be cross, but we’ve got a long list, a lot of items to cross off. […]
Four years ago, I was old enough to vote in my first presidential election. I was living with my parents. I had to brave the terrors of going back to my old high school to cast my ballot. I wore my “I VOTED” sticker all day and into the night, waiting for the results that would validate my efforts and prove that I had made a difference. And then I was crushed.
Kristy Bowen is a talented poet, visual artist, and editor, and is dedicated to supporting the work of other women poets and artists. 12th Street: What was your inspiration for dancing girl press? Kristy Bowen: […]
Tao Lin is a prolific author, editor, and sometime Gawker rabble rouser. The Stranger calls him “a revolutionary.” 12th Street: You have two collections of poetry out, one novel, a collection of short stories, and […]
Elisa Gabbert is a poet, editor, and collaborator extraordinaire. From “Smoking Villanelle,” written with Kathleen Rooney: The situation was not without charm but I’d never, ever do it again. There must be a better way […]
Mike Young lives up to his last name, and is more prolific than most. He often wears cowboy shirts.
12th Street: You told me something this summer that has stuck out in my mind: Some people write poetry when they should be writing country songs. Can you talk more about this?
Mike Young: The country song is a terrific format for a certain kind of emotional distillation. Like if you want to write about dead people, failed dreams, steel wool, alcohol, ghosts. If you want shifting narratives and wordplay. Self-deprecation, even. Country music has all that in spades. And I’m not even talking about good country here. Just mainstream country like you’d see on GAC. Go listen to “Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk” if you think L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry doesn’t exist on the tobacco farm. Tony Tost can speak much better about this (and less glibly, probably), but I am totally not kidding.
What I really meant when I talked to you, though, was probably that there is an undercurrent of honky-tonk emotional angst sort of tucked away, embarrassed, beneath the flashy crust of today’s popular, cutesy, post-avant, soft surrealist poetry. What if these poets just sat down and wrote a dumb country song about how much they miss high school? Or, like, how much they love beer in the afternoon? Eighty percent of the poets I know love beer in the afternoon. So do country stars. What I’m asking for, I think, is more unabashed sentimentality, in both poetry and the afternoon. DFW is right: irony has pervaded/perverted culture. Let Dr. Pepper make their sly, ironic commercials; if you really want to be subversive and shit, acknowledge sentimentality and “take it back.”