Stay tuned all month for poet interviews in honor of National Poetry Month.
1) Why poetry?
No road, no rules.
2) Do you feel like poetry is more or less important & relevant today?
It is approximately as important as it has always been.
3) Tell us about one poet who has greatly influenced you as a writer and a thinker.
Allyson Paty, my confidante and first reader, is, besides my mentor Diane Wakoski, probably the poet who has influenced me the most. Our poems are nothing alike (hers are generally brief, airy, and require a different kind of reading than mine, which are often long and dense), and her readings – of my work or of others’ – add a useful counterpoint to my own thinking about poetry. I, and many poets I know, are richer for her writing and thinking.
4) Tell us about one lesser-known contemporary poet who you’d like more people to know about.
I just came across some poems from a poet I hadn’t read before, an. cinquepalmi. Her work has a lyric, pop personality but the language is torqued into strangeness and vowel-forward, leaping specularity.
5) Share with us one of your recent poems and tell us a little bit about its context.
Probably the newest thing I have floating around these days is “Suite w/ a View for the Ends of Our Days (Three Plinths)” from my book, Exit Theater.
I like to think of it as ephemeral text, since all the links will eventually break, leaving a third of the poem unread(view)able.
You can listen to it here.
Mike Lala (b. 1987, Lubbock, TX) is a poet and sound artist working in New York. His first book, Exit Theater, was selected by Tyrone Williams for the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry; his chapbooks include, most recently, In the Gun Cabinet (The Atlas Revew, 2016) and Twenty-Four Exits (Present Tense Pamphlets, 2016). Current work can be found in Boston Review, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, Jubilat, The Awl, and VOLT. www.mikelala.