A Request for Interview Requests (plus 2 notes)

We’ve have some unfortunate scheduling issues in the last few months, and have had to postpone a few planned interviews, so as soon as this winter’s conversations with Robert Pinsky and Natasha Trethewey come out, we’re tapped. With the way the production schedule works, I really need to arrange interviews with at least two poets this fall — three would be nice, as I like to keep someone in reserve.

Here’s a list of the poets we’ve interviewed so far:

Robert Pinsky * Natasha Trethewey * Marvin Bell * Bob Hicok * Tess Gallagher * Arthur Sze * Marc Kelly Smith * Patricia Smith * Jane Hirshfield * Jack Kornfield * Hayden Carruth * Mark Jarman * Gregory Orr * Denise Duhamel * Alan Shapiro * David St. John * Sam Hamill * Deena Metzgar * Naomi Shihab Nye * Li-Young Lee * Colette Inez * Maxine Kumin * Robert Creeley * Gerald Stern * Lucille Clifton * Charles Simic * Mark Doty * Sharon Olds * Stephen Dobyns * C.K. Williams * Billy Collins * Jack Grapes * Simon Ortiz * Anne Waldman * Edward Hirsch * Diane Wakoski * James Ragan * Luis Rodriguez * Daniel Berrigan * Philip Levine * Dorianne Laux * Virginia Hamilton Adair

Damn, that’s a pretty impressive list… But everyone on there is out, so who would we look up next? Special consideration given to African-American poets for next summer’s issue, and Formalists for Dec. 2009. You are our readership — who would you like to read more about?

Remember that our “conversations” are less formal, more personal than most of the interviews that others publish, so this is a chance to get to know your favorite poets on a more intimate level.

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Two of my own poems are featured in Cutthroat’s summer issue, which is available as a free PDF download. Visit the site to check them out — they’re both slender little lyrics, lots of sonic stuff going on; one’s political, the other’s metapoetic.

I haven’t had a chance to read the issue yet (I haven’t had a chance to do anything lately), but I’ve really enjoyed past issues, and I really like the people that run it. We keep getting stuck next to each other at boring book festivals, and Will and Pam are good company.

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Bill Knott has further descended into wherever it is he’s going, and lately he’s been posting collages made from rejections slips. It was interesting to see that Rattle made the list (twice), a few years before my tenure began.

I’m not quite sure what Knott’s point is, whether it’s a gesture born of frustration or commiseration — if you’ve been following his blog, you know it could go either way. But regardless of his intent, it’s a great lesson for those new to submitting. Knott is a very successful poet, by any measure save perhaps his own — his books have come from all my favorite small presses, capped by FSG in 2004. And still, look at how these rejections pile up.