We’re continuing with our National Poetry Month interviews, and excited about our next featured poet, the shining start: Melissa Broder! Stay tuned for more featured poets all month long.
1) Do you think poetry is still important, relevant, and vibrant in today’s culture?
I don’t know, I just write it.
2) What makes you want to write poetry?
Reading poetry. Bottoming out on everything else. Hormones.
3) Tell us about one poet who has greatly influenced you as a writer and thinker.
I don’t want to think. I write from someplace else, not the brain. Here’s a poem I think is magnificent that feels like it was written from someplace else. Here’s a good book that’s kind of think-y. Here’s another good book that is sort of think-y but also someplace else-y.
4) Tell us about one lesser-known poet who you’d like more people to know about.
Just read a poem by Matt Margo that knocked my socks off. Running it this wknd at Sunday Service.
5) How do you feel about poetry in the age of social media?
Social media my side bitch, poetry my main bitch. Sometimes it hurts less to just chill with your side bitch. Sometimes your side bitch and your main bitch intersect, and if everyone has flexible boundaries it can be a great time. But if you try to control shit it’s a disaster.
6) Share with us one of your recent poems and tell us a little bit about its context.
Here’s a recent poem. I don’t know where it came from, what part of my body—I think from above my head but also despair, like guts maybe. Like, it came from both places. And I think that’s what the poem is dealing with, the bothness of everything. How getting bloodied leads to surrender so it too is holy. The being where you are supposed to be and thinking it’s all wrong. The not seeing perfection and that too, the inability to see what is, also as a form of perfection.
“What We Love Most is Definitely Going to Kill Us Hallelujah”
Wade in the water
Wade in the goddamn water
I have been wading
I wade and wade and don’t even know
The water dissolves me
The soothing water
The water as mother
The water is burning
I am ready to burn
I am burning me up
Every day I burn and burn
Every day I lose the wade
I listen for the water
I cannot tell me the water
Words never in or of the water
They are dancing around it
They are pointing to the water
I am pointing to the water
I say look look water!
I say where?
Melissa Broder is the author of three collections of poems, including the recently released SCARECRONE and MEAT HEART. Poems appear in The Iowa Review, Fence, Guernica, The Missouri Review, Washington Square, The Awl, et al. The Chicago Tribune says that her poetry “risks the divine” and Flavorwire calls her work “unbelievable and overwhelming for its imaginative power alone.”