Welcome back to the Potty Mouth Interviews and I hope you enjoy my new interview with Steven Cordova (love his name!), a poet, who may also be a Borg, who is based in Brooklyn. More on that later. I read Steven ‘s book while I was held hostage inside a flying sardine can (American Airlines) and it made me laugh, smile, cry, and eat lots of pretzels. It’s a wonderful book. Steven is not afraid to speak universal truth without throwing it in your face. Long Distance is delicate, deliberate and really, really awesome. In fact, Steven’s poetry closes the distance between the reader and writer. It shines a light and that light illuminates the stars.
Almost Dorothy: In your first collection, Long Distance, you enter unlit rooms and bump into dressers, pose nude for Spencer Tunic, travel the federation starship Voyager, and hang out with the Chicken & the Egg and the last AIDS cat. How did you do it, how did you write this collection, and do you have the photograph? I guess these are questions of process.
Steven Cordova: Leading the life of whimsy that I do, I bump into a lot of things. Really, it’s amazing Long Distance got written at all. But the poems you make reference to above all came to me after I hit my stride as poet. Before that I was poetically constipated, and it took a long time for me to draft and finish a poem. So I think that a variety of subject matter comes from confidence, and from reading a lot. Reading has shown me a poem can be about anything— Continue reading “Steven Cordova: The Long Distance”→
Yes, Sandrine Orabona was “one of two cinematographers on Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’, using her skills to document the artist, cast and crew as they prepared for their run of shows in London.” Yes, enough said. Who cares about that stuff, anyway? In this Potty Mouth Interview, Orabona and I discuss via long distance telepathic underwater communication, her work as a documentary filmmaker, her process & multi-tasking talents, and her most beautiful mistake. We also gab about her love for surfing (while surfing), black coffee with sugar and milk, the World Cup, and the little pager that couldn’t (my dog ate it). Don’t say anything about France losing in the World cup, either. Hush. Hush. Seriously. Orabona is magic, distilled, and illuminating. I want to use that cliché too to describe her, but she’s beyond inspirational. She’s just pure spirit. Enjoy the interview.
Almost Dorothy: In your bio, it states “Sandrine Orabona has always believed in the power this genre [documentary filmmaking] to convey the intensity of human emotions.” Where does this power come from and how is it created?
Sandrine Orabona: People. Moments in time. These days, so much drama is created and inflated in our media – so called “journalism” or “reality” television (I’ve spent my fair share working for both). Documentary work takes just a little bit more time and attention than the general media is ready to give – time is money, baby. They skim the surface, take a tiny bit of information and blow up some headline without even taking the time to see if it’s true, let alone live with it or understand it. It’s simple in concept, really, the documentary format – be an aware, involved observer and then distill the emotion from the material. It’s always there.
AD: Is it image alone, above, beyond, or in conjunction with other forms of artistic expression, that gives film the power to awaken?
SO: I’d start by saying that this power depends on the quality of the filmmaking. But in my opinion the art form that holds the greatest power to move people is music. When music and visuals are combined I think that power is amplified exponentially. That’s why I tend towards music documentary but you can also find many examples in narrative film and television, when they’re done well.
Almost Dorothy’s Potty Mouth Interview series is back, yahoo!, with a new interview with the fabulous poet Matthew Hittinger, who may be one of the infamous X-Men (or Women). It doesn’t get better than this. Matthew Hittinger is pretty darn awesome even if he doesn’t get to wear white on his wedding day. (More on that later.) In our interview, Mattthew reveals & rumbas about hybrid poetry, splicing & dicing literary forms, queerness, and the art of identity or the identity of art. We talk about X-Men, Jeanette Winterson, and Alice in Wonderland. I may have just made that up, but you’ll find out if you read on, sisters & brothers. I dare you. Enjoy Matthew Hittinger: The Bride of Hybrida. Smiles.
Matthew Hittinger: Do I get to wear white?
Almost Dorothy: Hush baby, don’t you worry, I do the interviewing around here. You can wear white if I can wear my ruby red platforms.
AD: Now that we got that settled, a real question. If you were a hybrid mythological creature combined, spliced together from two or three, a hybrida of sorts, which mythological creature would you be, and why?
Sandy McIntosh can dance, write, cook, shimmy & shake, and invent whole universes in his sleep. He can sing too! Well, not really, but Sandy is super sweet and his poetry is full of friction. His latest work, Ernesta, in the Style of Flamenco, traverses the “fascinating social dimensions of music and its impact.” I have no idea what that means, but Sandy has given me an interview in which he reveals the music behind the music of Sandy McIntosh. Enjoy.
Almost Dorothy: Ernesta, in the Style of the Flamenco is a monumental collection of poetry—experimental, musical, hysterical. Tell us about the process of putting Ernesta together.
Sandy McIntosh: I’d often tried my hand at fiction but was never satisfied with the results. I’d written short stories and even a novel, which I found to be a painful, confusing experience. I realized that my instinct was to write expository fiction as if I were writing intense, condensed poetry. I was at war with myself. In the end, I decided to rewrite from memory these stories as narrative poems. Seen through the lens of poetry, the stories began to make more sense. For example, a story based on a dinner I’d had with a friend, was called “Susie the Idiot.” But when I revisited it through the lens of poetry I discovered that, in truth, I had been the only idiot in the piece. With this as a starting point I made poems of other stories, and several of them are in Ernesta.
Heather Christle’s book, The Difficult Farm, is a beautiful space that inhabits a transliminal world inhabited by goats and bunnies, dragons and little owls, and maybe a few camels. Well, maybe not all of those animals, but some. Heather’s poetry floats and whispers soft curses. Whips the reader around. Juxtaposes and poses right in your face. In fact, when I received her book in the mail, I decided to read the book backwards, so I curled up in a small corner where no one would find me, not even mom. You should do the same. In this interview, Heather and I discuss trust, Miss Manners, and the famous pizzeria Pizzeria Unos.
Almost Dorothy:Just a warning: I’m not real, so everything I say is real. First of all, I’ve never been to a farm, so I want to know what a difficult farm is like?
Heather Christle: A difficult farm is also not real, but I think it is probably common, tough, and rewarding.
AD: In your book of poems, The Difficult Farm, I laughed and cried buckets of milk. Well, I didn’t cry, but I felt like a bunny missing an ear. What informs or reforms your aesthetics?
HC: For a while in my first year at grad school, “your aesthetic” was a phrase that got tossed around kind of in place of “your mother.” Carson Cistulli was doing most of the tossing.I think my aesthetics are informed by Miss Manners, a belief in Enthusiasm, some Serbians, some Russians, a love of animals, and a pursuit of being deeply, deeply wrong.
I would like to thank Charles Jensen and his pets for enduring this Potty Mouth Interview. I’m proud to say I’m gay because of him. Or maybe not. Actually, never mind. All you need to know is that Charles is ballsy, brilliant, and (one more B word) muy auténtico. When I proposed this interview, he wrote, “I think I suffer from a disability that prevents me from being irreverent.” I had to look up irreverent in the dictionary and I discovered the word comes from Middle English, which I guess is in the center of Left and Right English. Charles simply occupies English. Nuff’ said. He is a reverent artist, writer, soothsayer, rabid fan of Gossip Girl, America’s Next Top Bottle, and the Vampire Diaries. He is a good gay uncle, friend of Dorothy, a voice calling for the end of violence, and a newly minted Ke$ha fan. If you beg, he may let you see his fabulous acoustic version of Tik Tok. I wasn’t a Ke$ha fan until this. Enjoy.
Almost Dorothy: On your blog, you have this quote, which mom says is really dumb, but she’s an ass so don’t pay any attention to her, that says, “I can’t remember when the world turned slowly, so I’ll just lay here with the lights turned out again.” What happens when memory returns and the lights won’t turn off? What then?
Charles Jensen: Then we are all trapped after hours in the Museum of Past Wrongs, forced to constantly confront all the ways we’ve failed the people we love. That, or we run out of popcorn. Neither is a reality I’m ready to confront.
Brent Goodman loves Bubba Gump. Brent Goodman loves the universe. Brent Goodman is a sassy man. Brent Goodman is not Brenda Goodmen. I don’t know why he agreed to be interviewed by me, but he did, and I promised I would do everything in my power to ruin his reputation. If you haven’t read Mr. Goodman’s work, or Mrs. Goodmen’s work, or never tasted Bubba Gump shrimp, it’s time you get on board. Take a bite. Wrap yourself up and let him swim inside your head.
Almost Dorothy: Dear Buddha, if heaven is not an ecosystem, then what makes a field of dreams?
Brent Goodman: I’m sorry I thought I made that crystal. In the fire ants’ trail of footprints, raindrops river the forest floor. Sometimes a kid in a little league uniform with thick lenses peers down into the grass, focusing the sun into a ribbon of smoke. A praying mantis stops praying. In heaven they call this “good weather.”
AD: Do you dream in color, black & white, in language & text, or a combination of all the above?
Ladies and gentlemen, or just the ladies, listen up. My Potty Mouth Interview with Kristine Snodgrass, who is mom’s favorite potty mouth poet, examines the secret life of language in her poetry and explores the creative power of horse shit, not bull. In fact, Kristine loves the smell and mom and I love her for it.Wait, there’s more. What’s so awesome about Kristine? Well, she’s a girl, and girls are awesome, powerful feathers, teachers, and make amazing father figures. Kristine is all snap, all undone, crazy fine. She is the hand you want to hold when you cross the threshold to the gates of hell. She’s got Satan in her pocket and she’s all fierce. Plus, Kristine has an amazing daughter, who rides ponies and has a dirty potty mouth too. Well, we hope she will one day. Enjoy brothers and sisters.
Almost Dorothy: In your new chapbook, Fledgling Starlet, you wrote the words bunny, inner ears, that, Hester, and bargain. What are you driving at?
Kristine Snodgrass: Driving? A big piece of crap mini-van that has broken driver side door handles. I crawl in the passenger side. I do. And I am supposed to call some dude named Bubba to get a new one. This confuses me. I am shit confused.
Then one day I called Bubba. I did. And he said some shit, that I couldn’t understand, so I hung up. I am still crawling in through the passenger side door. When people ask my “why are you getting in that way?”, I say, “Because it feels good”.
AD: Wow, tears are gliding down my cheeks. Are you a vestibule?
KS: I am more like a restabule. I like to rest. I am resting right now! Rest for me, rest for you, rest for everyone. Rest of my life. Resting on a cat. Rest on Bubba.
Rest in a van.
AD: In your wildest dreams, after you’ve rested, did you ever think you could give birth to such an amazing daughter?
KS: Nope. Really, they just pulled her out like a wet towel. I did nothing. She did it all, she kicked and cried, and pooed. She is my hero. I started riding again (horses) because I am so inspired by her strength and love.
I think she will grow up to be a horse trainer.
AD: Why not a horse? When will you fly?
KS: I have ordered a new broom. It is supposed to be the most fabulous vroom broom ever. Then I will fly into some John Fluvog shoes. I want pink ones.
AD: Any thoughts on the birth of Christ?
KS: Oh, was he born already? I missed the baby shower. Shit, now I have to send a gift.
AD: Is being married to the poet, Jay Snodgrass (a.k.a. Jabba the Hut) a distraction, delight, or damn hot?
KS: Gawd. He is my primary source of stress, my primary source of comfort. He is a mentor and a teacher to me. He is at the same time so sweet and a complete ass. I am addicted to him. He’s a Scorpio. Look it up.
AD: Favorite position, non sexual?
KS: As my father in law would say, horizontal.
AD: Favorite position, sexual?
AD: As in cat? Hmmm…so, if you could be a goat, where would you visit and why?
KS: I would go to a horse farm. Just to smell the horse shit. It is lovely. A lovely horse shit smell goat girl.
AD: Very classy. Which one of your poems from your chapbook Facial Geometry, co-authored by two dorks, Neil de la Flor and Maureen Seaton, would you rather be: Planet Napkin or Elegy for a Stingray?
KS: Planet Napkin is soooooooo funny. It kills me every time I read it. I totally remember writing that at some whore’s gelato factory. [Don’t call my mom a whore, whore!?] You were cute but getting on my nerves. Elegy for a Stingray is just, JUST. It’s fabulous. It’s so fabulous. I think it’s like a lovely horse shit smell goat girl.
Neigh and Bubba.
Kristine Snodgrass is the editor of Cake, a new literary journal from Florida A&M University. Her latest chapbook, Fledgling Starlet (Greybook Press 2009) explores female identity, consumerism, and pop culture. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Shampoo, Coconut, 2River View, Gulfstream, The Tusculum Review, and Tigertail. Kristine has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her collaborative work is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review and LIT. She is also the author of a chapbook of collaborative triads, Facial Geometry (NeO Pepper Press 2006). Kristine is currently a Ph.D. student at Florida State University (but she just gave it up today). She lives in Tallahassee where she is an instructor at FAMU and loves to feed horses candy hearts.
Today, a special treat, a Potty Mouth Interview with Maureen Seaton. Woo hoo! I can’t believe she’s agreed to a Potty Mouth Interview, which will Shirley ruin her career as a writer, but may do wonders for her lifetime goal of becoming a trucker. In any case, Mo’s a big deal, a big inspiration for LGBT writers and Non LGBT writers, little girls like me, boys who want to be girls, girls who want to be boys, and everyone else. She is magic and the wand of the good witch Glinda—but without the stupid crown. She has a potty mouth too and maybe she’ll let it rip. In any case, Maureen Seaton is the person most responsible for this series, so any lawsuits please direct to her. I had to blame someone besides Maria Callas and mom. Enjoy. Continue reading “Maureen Seaton: The Good Witch”→
I tried to interview Megan Casella Roth for this Potty Mouth Interview, but her goddamn cat ate her–fo’ real! Nah really. In fact, Megan , which rhymes with Megan, was on vacation in New Mexico, snowboarding, or whatever the hell it is people do in New Mexico. Personally, I love Old Mexico where life is a more authentic and the mole is real motherfucking mole. Jada Roth-Casella, Megan’s cat, who wasn’t on vacation and is totally way cooler than Megan, sat for an interview. Kids, put your pants on. This kitty cat has got a rough tongue and whiskers that’ll whip your ass into a frenzy. Plus, this damn cat has her own Facebook page.
Almost Dorothy: So you’re writing a book called, The Green Fried Lemonade. What would you say to a fireman who lives recreationally daily or the mortician forever in black-magic sky-high tease-me heels?
Jada Roth Casella: It’s all about letting go of your inner Carolyn Burnham. Once you do, life is a giant orgasm/crisp-sandwich. The idea that we are gathering our materials for future possibility is only valid if we are canceling our subscription to the magazine called Success in Normality Yorker. Nobody is normal, especially the people who try so hard to seem to be, with their you-statements and Capri pants and lovely argyles. Can we get some tuna in here? I was promised Chunk Light and Zephyrhills.