Interview with Oak Bend Review

The new issue of Oak Bend Review features an interview with yours truly (click on “Honorary Guest”), along with a generous spread of poetry (including one previously unpublished), glowing praise for American Fractal, and even a posting of that YouTube video Poetry.la did a while back.  I don’t know about “honorary,” but I truly am honored.  The last editor/poet to be interviewed there was Christian Wiman, so more than honored, I feel a little out of my league.

The interview drifts between commentary on the state of poetry in America, poetry itself, various issues we’ve done at Rattle, and our editorial outlook.  In addition to my aforementioned tendency to yodel out an avalanche of bad metaphors, you’ll notice a more general tendency to spew forth whatever comes to mind, unfiltered.  I can see this getting me into trouble some day.

Moreover, looking back at the interview–which we did about two months ago–it occurs to me that I’m pretty damn opinionated.  I’m humble about my own insight into poetry, or lack thereof, particularly when it comes to weilding my imaginary editorial clout.  In other words, I really don’t think I have any special understanding of literature; though I read a lot, I’m not particularly well-read, and so on.

But boy, do I have my opinions about poetry–somewhere along the way I’ve developed a fully formed poetic ideology, from creative conception to life on the page.  I think I know what poetry is, how it works, and why it’s useful–and not in some general sense.  My poetic ideology is specific and nuanced, centered around my personal interpretation of eastern philosophies, but also informed by cognitive science and psychology.

When I read other peoples’ comments on poetry, I’m past the stage of absorbing them — I’m merely judging them in relation to my own theories, saving those that fit, discarding the ones that don’t.  This has been coming up more often lately, as I’ve been reading essays on poetry for Aram Saroyan’s class.  I’m always thinking, “Pound is right when he says X, but seems not to understand Z.”  I’m even looking forward to turning my thoughts into a book, a project that at times seems more interesting than writing new poems.

This kind of opinionated arrogance flies in the face of my editorial stance as a relative novice, open to anything.  But I guess four and a half years of full-time poetry will do that to you.

Anyway, do check out the whole issue.  I’ve only had time to skim parts of it, but in the poetry section, I’ve already enjoyed Drew Riley’s bawdy voice, and E. Darcy Trie’s delicacy.  There are some names, too, familiar to Rattle readers–Antonia Clark, Martin Willits, Jr.–that I’m saving for later.

The journal is very young, but editor Sandee Lyles fully realizes the virtues of the young with her enthusiasm and dedication.  The format is interesting, too, both online and print-on-demand.  Think about submitting some work.

10 thoughts on “Interview with Oak Bend Review

  1. Thanks for the mention Tim. We at Oak Bend Review are the honored ones. Sure am glad I had the “decidaction” to ask you, which proves you never know until you ask. It’s “yes” or “no” and the world still spins either way. But it’s a whole lot more fun of a ride when you get a “yes”. 🙂

  2. Oak Bend Review is one of the most exciting things to happen on the ezine scene in a long time. I waited for the first issue with great interest, and once I saw it, I knew I wanted to see my work there. And OBR knocked it out of the park by having you as a guest, Tim.

    All the best,
    Carla

  3. Sandees enthusiasm for her craft and her ‘zine is only outweighed by the talented group she’s collected in this first issue. The whole thing tastes good!

  4. I really enjoyed being a part of Oak Bend Review as a returning poet. I love that the journal is online and in print as well. I was especially thrilled to read your interview, Tim. It was a wonderul treat listen to your poetry reading.

    Thank you
    Carol Lynn Grellas

  5. Oak Bend Review is one of those places where I feel poets are really welcome…I know I felt that way with my work. Hopefully your presence, Tim, will allow an even wider audience to enjoy the good company there.

    L. Ward Abel

  6. Yes, Oak Bend is a sharp new journal. I, too, appreciate the print option. I’m pleased to have had my work appear in both issues and it was so nice to see you honored there, Tim! And thanks for the mention here, too.

    Antonia Clark

  7. What an issue! Especially the interview (see below).

    Some of the poems that spoke to me included Green’s “Cheers,” Riley’s “Wounded,” Nicole Hama’s two poems,
    Alex Stolis’ “What’s It Like,” Corey Harvard’s “If I Could,”
    Ed Peterson’s “Fall,” though (or because) it is confusing, and Puma Perl’s “If Dreams.” I’ve seen poems
    before that use words as images, but Perl’s stuck to me. And the rushing lyricism had me wanting
    to get out some jazz and play it.

    I was, also, moved by your short poem, “My Melancholy.” The last four lines especially because
    even though they use very simple, plain words and an old-time metaphor, the way you worded
    them creatively anew has such emotional power. I also liked the near rhyme/assonance and consonance, and the
    very strong ambiguity.

    Green was an excellent choice for an interview. While I enjoyed reading his clear poems, it was
    some of his defining statements in the interview that got to me. I kept cutting and pasting out quotes.
    I’ve read too many dry texts on the nature of poetry that put me to sleep and beat out any power
    of poetry (to paraphrase Collins).

    I especially liked Green’s comments about how poetry needs to be accessible on the first read
    but then lead one onto a second, and third read–and keep rattling around inside of oneself.

    One doubt though I have is about his view that poetry has some kind of non-religious religious
    importance. I have read this many places over the years, and I even make a similar point on my own poetry
    website, where I wax lyrical about poetry’s transcendent function.

    But I wonder if it is really true of poetry of the present, in current poetry magazines (or the past
    for that matter).

    It seems that quite a bit of modern poetry actually gives voice and power to the worst
    and most destructive in human experience. And I’m not even talking about rap or slam
    poetry, which I saw wreck havoc in the lives of the teenage boys (and girls) I taught
    in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. Of course, maybe the boys just sought out poetry that fed
    their own destructiveness. I know that there are very complex reasons why any given
    teen lives out rap lines literally.

    Of late I’ve come to the conclusion that poetry like other arts is an ambiguous medium that swirls
    out of human consciousness, empowering either good or evil or the vast gray in between,
    depending on the mindset and worldview of the poet.

    By the way I really enjoyed the audio part of the magazine. It was intriguing to hear Green
    orally interpret his poem “Cheers.”

  8. Marciano Malvar Guzman says:

    I read with great interest OBR’s interview with Tim Green, a most welcome feature in an excellent issue.

    Let me assure you, Tim, that I share your positive outlook -perhaps with a less guarded optimism- on the future of poetry, more so within the American scene. Though we cannot expect a great deal of people to appreciate poetry during these times of varied competing interests, still there are many of us who feel the need for still and silent consideration, what we may even call “unhurried contemplation” of people, things and events affecting our lives, leading us to the great attraction of literature, especially poetry. (I took note of your experience of poetry as a meditative exercise that refreshes the soul and makes the mind see more clearly.) I would even go as far as saying that the financial crisis currently felt in the U.S. and the growing threat of a global meltdown are blessings in disguise, since they will make more people realize there are realities beyond mere enjoyment of material wealth and consumerism.

    I like the metaphor you employed to describe good poetry–as poetry that makes us “rattle,” each poem like “a little stone we swallow that bounces around inside of us, resonating with our bones…” It reminded me of similar pronouncements I came across while writing an awarded masteral thesis on communication in poetry.

    Congratulations on “American Fractal”! I think it is already a resounding success!

    Marciano Malvar Guzman

  9. I really enjoyed the interview in OBR. Especially your thoughtful comments on nurse-poets (being one) and, the timely comments on the economy and people’s priorities–perhaps some distress there will lead to more attentive lives, and perhaps more poetry reading. One can hope.
    Jeanie Tomasko

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