Hi all! I got tagged in a self-interview chain and figured it was about time to post something other than my laptop being stolen post from last year. Thanks to Vanessa Stauffer, who tagged me, and whose interview you can read here!
1. What are you working on?
My dissertation. It is/will be/is supposed to be a collection of poems, but it’s so early on in the process it’s tough to really say how it’ll materialize into a book manuscript down the road, if it does (which I hope it will). Right now a lot of the poems are asking questions about what connectivity means, what responsibility we have to neighbors, strangers, family, etc., and I presume that will probably manifest as one of the major themes in the manuscript.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I like easy poems that tell narratives and have simple syntax and maybe have a joke or two in them. I have no interest in writing poems like that right now. I believe it is the one’s responsibility to engage with difficult work until one arrives at an understanding of it. My new poems eschew syntax, linearity, comedy and self in order to reassemble traditional subjects into new views. I’ve been told they’re “difficult” or “complicated,” but, like, read them a second or third time and I’m sure you’ll arrive at a perception of them.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write poetry that asks questions of the way we behave as humans because I believe we are behaving destructively. Poetry has a duty to engage with injustices and faults, and although I know poetry amounts to only a small whisper against the boulder on the precipice, it is still some applied force against wrongs. If you are a poet who isn’t writing against what’s wrong with the world then what the hell are you into verse for? Money? I got some troubling news for you then, friend.
4. How does your writing process work?
I work myself up into an emotional frenzy and then try to get a first draft out in a few hours. Lately, (partly because of my doctoral program and not having a whole lot of time), I’ve been waiting a half a year to even look at the drafts I write. Then I’m more precise in the revision process, taking a few days to do a second draft, maybe even deciding the poem will never work. I generate a lot of first drafts and then try to cut out what’s bunk during revision.
OK! I tagged poet W. Todd Kaneko, author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies, (fall 2014 from Curbside Splendor Books) to to this interview. I’m six days late, but he might have his up as early as tomorrow or as late as never. Here’s his website. W. Todd Kaneko is from Seattle, Washington. His poetry, fiction and non-fiction can be seen in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Southeast Review, Lantern Review, NANO Fiction, The Collagist, Blackbird, The Huffington Post, Song of the Owashtanong: Grand Rapids Poetry in the 21st Century, Bring the Noise: The Best Pop Culture Essays from Barrelhouse Magazine and elsewhere. He took his MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and has received fellowships from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and Kundiman. He is an associate editor for DMQ Review. Currently, he teaches in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the writer Caitlin Horrocks.