Gina Abelkop lives in Athens, GA with her sweetheart and two funny dogs. She's the author of I Eat Cannibals (forthcoming from coimpress, Fall 2014), Darling Beastlettes (Apostrophe Books, 2012), and Trollops in Love (dancing girl press, 2011). She is also the founder/editor of Birds of Lace, a DIY feminist press.

DeWitt Brinson: What is your poetry's spirit animal?

Gina Abelkop: The Cassowary, of course.

DB: If you could turn one person into a monkey, who would it be and why?

GB: It'd be all the people who do medical testing on monkeys, and I think we all know why.

DB: What does a line in poetry mean to you?

GB: A line in poetry means several outcomes are possible: love or hate or bored ambivalence being three of the easiest to categorize. It also means that many someones are writing poetry and that makes me feel hope in regards to the state of humanity.

DB: Think of a poem you love, give it a different title, then explain why you gave it that new title without telling what the poem was or what your new title is.

GB: Last night I learned that in Elizabethan times, a woman wearing her hair "downe" was a sign of her insanity or dangerousness. Imagine this being the meaning behind lowering your eyes, rather than shame, fear, or discomfort.

DB: Name two things you love about yourself.

GB: The love I have to give my beloveds, my voracious appetite for art and information that gets my brain-car moving.

DB: Name two things you don't love about yourself.

GB: My skin, my irritability.

DB: Was it easier to answer the question what you love or what you hate about yourself? Why do you think that is and would you like to change that about yourself?

GB: Much easier to answer [what I hate], because self-hate is a deep, slippery hole that most of us are still digging our way out of, and I'm no exception. Yes, I would absolutely like to change that about myself, and I'm trying. Some days it's easier than others. Self-hatred can be a particularly boring kind of paralysis.

DB: Who are some poets we should be reading?

GB: Christine Shan Shan Hou, Magdalena Zurawski, Niina Pollari, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Danielle Pafunda, Cathy Park Hong, Lucas de Lima, JD Scott, Lara Glenum, Kim Hyesoon, Ji yoon Lee, Carina Finn, Nicole Steinberg, Jennifer Tamayo, Harmony Holiday, Laura Solomon, Jenny Gropp, John Vincler, Sarah Gambito, Becca Jensen, Paige Taggart, Becca Klaver, Rebecca Farivar, Seth Oelbaum, Kim Vodicka, Ronaldo V. Wilson, Leigh Stein, Jennifer Calkins, Anne Boyer, Carrie Murphy, and Heidi Lynn Staples to name a few.

DB: What excites you about art right now?

GB: That I get to be alive while so many electric, strange, gorgeous, unnerving, wily kinds of it are being made.

DB: Talk about the snake.

GB: Snakes show up in my nightmares from time to time and it's always terrible. Most recently a snake appeared in my dream and the only way I could kill it was to drop this poisonous liquid into its mouth. This particular snake slept with it's mouth open wide, gaping, so as it slept I poured the poison down its throat, and it shriveled up and died. I moved to Georgia last summer. Our new landlord explained to us that there were tiny garden snakes in the yard, and that we'd be able to smell them. To know that you can smell a snake is one of the worst sensory-related things I can think of.