We’re continuing with our National Poetry Month interviews, and excited about today’s featured poet, the one and only Cassandra Gillig! Stay tuned for more featured poets all month long.
1) Do you think poetry is still important, relevant, and vibrant in today’s culture?
no, but it could be
2) What makes you want to write poetry?
3) Tell us about one poet who has greatly influenced you as a writer and thinker.
cean gamalinda is a poet who i met in high school because he was doing very cool breakdancing moves at my friend tim’s house. in high school, cean got a really high score on the ACT & dated one of my best friends & worked at a bounce house birthday party place for like half a year. we gave a lot of bad powerpoint presentations together in our science and psychology classes. one time cean was listening to wu-tang clan really loudly in his car on the way to pick me & he tried to text me while he was driving (bad!!! dont do it!) & he crashed his car into a stone mailbox owned by a rich white woman with two truant sons. he wasnt allowed to drive for several months, so we had to use my uncle’s red nissan xterra to drive places. i still talk to cean almost every day. i love him because he makes me work hard for poetry & he is, for me, a permanent tether to a time in my life where nothing else mattered more than reading & writing. he is also very talented–one of the greatest living poets, in my opinion.
4) Tell us about one lesser-known poet who you’d like more people to know about.
more people should know abt the writing of hannah weiner, which is something im working to fix. hannah’s concept of what poetry is & can be is something that im very much attached to. her work on the page is stunning & so interesting & it carried to performance so well. im in awe of everything she accomplished. kenning editions has a great book of her work called open house that you should check out.
5) How do you feel about poetry in the age of social media?
twitter makes me feel like a better man.
6) Share with us one of your recent poems and tell us a little bit about its context.
in keeping with my goal this year to talk about hannah weiner as much as i can, i will talk about a piece i did in a gallery in zurich a few weeks back. using hannah weiner’s clairvoyant journals, i layered hannah’s words in a way that engages with her traditions of polyvocality and textual overlap while challenging the singularity of her placement of words on the page. essentially, i pitted hannah against hannah against hannah against hannah, etc. this piece took up an area of something like ten feet by fourteen feet & was physically strenuous to complete at times–it worked my arm muscles real hard.
See the piece here – Cassandra Gillig: Clairvoyant Journal by Hannah Weiner