DeWitt Brinson: Are these your interpretation of ghazals? If not, how do you see this form?

Joseph Bienvenu: I think poetry takes the shape it needs to take so that it can be potent. I’m not in the habit of dissecting my dinner.

DB: How fast are elephants in water?

JB: Faster than you would think.

DB: If any forest creature could live inside your head, which creature would that be and would it suffer or thrive?

JB: I think a finch could live in my hollowed out skull quite nicely.

DB: Quick! List two reasons why you write poetry in a code which no one can understand!

JB: Everything can be deciphered, even when there really is no pattern there.

DB: Draw a picture of a young man's arm then describe what the drawing looks like (besides a young man's arm, obviously).

JB: It’s a thin and crooked pencil line abandoned a fourth of the way through.

DB: What are you terrible at writing? (either writing about or kind of writing)

JB: There is no such thing as being terrible at writing something.

DB: Write something quiet but colorful.

JB: A pigeon flies right through the middle of the proceedings.

DB: What's the best thing that can happen to you next year?

JB: Something I don’t see coming.

DB: When are you afraid?

JB: When I’m asleep.

DB: You walk down an empty street. The sun is setting. You hear a child calling for help, why do you keep walking?

JB: That in and of itself is the smoking gun.



interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson

Joseph Bienvenu is a poet and teacher with a B.A. in Classics from Loyola University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His poetry and translations include The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus (2013, Dialogos), Atom Parlor (2010, BlazeVox [books]), Cocktail Poems (2011, Hobby Horse Press), Catullus: Selected Translations (2010, Verna Press),and Pool Hall Quartet (2008, Verna Press).