c dylan


interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson

DeWitt Brinson: A bird wakes you from a strong nap. You don't know how it got inside, but it has your underwear in its mouth. What do you do?

C Dylan Bassett: I don’t wear underwear. Not anymore.

DB: Where do you usually write?

CDB: Here or there--wherever you find me.

DB: On a warm day at the beach, a man calling himself Roberto Browning offer you a cold peach. What did you dream about as a child?

CDB: I dreamed about a man with a woman’s name and vice versa. I dreamed my sister had her hands on backwards and everyone seemed OK with it. True stories. I remember a recurring dream in which a worm was loose in my bedsheets and my grandmother sang me to sleep. I had a scary childhood sometimes, but always a thrilling one. I started watching the X-Files at age ten. I was reading Steven King by thirteen. My mom told ghost stories, etc.

DB: Do you use a laptop, desktop, pen and paper?

CDB: Mostly.

DB: At a market in France a young boy has skinned both his knees. A tie shop owner berates him for crying. What year is it and what makes you happy?

CDB: The year is 1994. The boy is me at a much younger age. Things that make me happy include: waking up in the morning and subsequent cereal, loud music, nonsense, live theatre, telling secrets, falafel, day-old donuts, sweaters, campfires, hearing the birds but not seeing them, mist, Gertrude Stein, waterfalls, spoons, the sound of a spoon slipping into a bowl of cereal, blueberries, San Diego between 6 and 10 AM, headphones, large windows, airplanes, personal libraries, swimming but not in the ocean, hats variously, mountains, bratwurst, nice people, loafers, the sound of loafers on tile, cold drinks, hot drinks, long-distance phone calls, milky water caused by adding a lemon, Kanye West, photographs with people in them, happy children, coffee mugs, care packages, Halloween, Arsenal Football Club, small boats, the Mojave desert, elevators, potlucks, Las Vegas casinos, fireworks.

DB: When is it time to edit and when to put a poem aside?

CDB: I am restless to begin, and then restless begin again. It is not the finish that thrills me. I write serial poems as a way to constantly start over and also to explore an idea more extensively, to push it as far as I can. The time to put a poem aside is soon. The time to edit is nighttime.

DB: What have you learned not to do?

CDB: I have learned not to tell the truth.

DB: How accurately can you imagine your face without having looked in a mirror all day?

CDB: Not accurately at all! Did you read the poems? I forget what I look like regularly. I’m generally interested in faces as schemas, histograms, maps, mediums (of expression, communication), rhetorical tools, spatial organizations, perspectival landscapes, sources (of information, emotion), masks (camouflages, veils, facades), texts bearing the markings of their own narratives. I like making new faces. I like displaying multiple faces simultaneously. However, I also want to erase the face altogether, to escape it. Facelessness brings out realities beneath representation. The face has a beautiful future once you destroy it (Deleuze and Guattari). 

DB: What games do you play?

CDB: Sometimes boardgames, but not with people I love.

DB: What are you the most?

CDB: Worried.


C Dylan Bassett is the author of six chapbooks. His recent poems are published/forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Columbia Poetry Review, H_NGM_N, Ninth Letter, Salt Hill, West Branch and elsewhere. He is a teaching fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and co-edits likewise folio / likewise books.