DeWitt Brinson: In your life, what’s the connection between the things you can’t say?

Anaïs Duplan: I can't say anything. You know the dream I'm talking about. The one where you're supposed to say something – urgently, for the love of god, &c. That one. 

DB: Play Marry, Fuck, Dump with art forms (i.e. which art form would you marry? fuck? dump? and why?).

Anaïs Duplan: Fuck landscape painting. Not sexually. Unless it's Monet. Fuck Monet sexually. Marry a sound installation that sounds like whirring. Whir to sleep, whir to wake. Dump the body of poetry off a barge. 

DB: When’s the last time you pretended to be someone else.

Anaïs Duplan: Just then. Did you see it?


DB: You are alone in a field. Someone you can’t see is whispering insults directed at your best friend. What is growing around you?

Anaïs Duplan: Lilac arms and legs, growing all around. 

DB: What’s your editing process?

Anaïs Duplan: There is no editing. There is only the thing I refused to write down. If it makes it onto the page, it's useful. If not now, then later. I promise. (That may not be true. I love you enough to tell you that.)

DB: Who’s the first poet that had an impact in your life? How old were you and what work were you reading or hearing?

Anaïs Duplan: Celan. It was Celan. It has always been him. Dein goldenes Haar Margarete.

DB: You stop by an office where you once had an interview. All of the people are under their desks except one man trying desperately to dig through the hardwood floor with a long, flat shovel. Why did you go back?

Anaïs Duplan: To get the shovel. / To put an end to his suffering. / To love him like he's never been loved before. / But ultimately to get the shovel.  

DB: List the colors of the rainbow in order of your affection. Write one line about each.

Anaïs Duplan: Purple must go first but not because I like it the most. This is the way things are.

Then yellow, because it is complementary to purple. 

Then green and blue, about which I feel nothing in particular.

And red is terrible but I need terrible things / I need things terribly / I am a terrible thing.

I do not care about the other colors. (Orange, &c.)

Plainly: I like the most when one color appears on top of another. Rothko, just like Rothko. It does not matter which colors. 

DB: What’s the littlest thing that makes you happy? How often do you consider it?

Anaïs Duplan: I tried to think of an answer other than "my clitoris." I do not like when vaginas appear in poems. But this is not a poem. This is not a poem. 

DB: Talk about the works you’ve published. How you feel about them, how they’ve changed you, how you’ve changed since you gave them to the public to view.

Anaïs Duplan: Lately I've tried to write poems where no one dies (in other words, different poems) and it hasn't worked. I've decided to quit the prohibitions. There will be dead animals galore and dead friends and self-directed racial loathing. I think: they cannot possibly want to hear about another dead thing, another negress, another sex-terror. But then I cannot write. So I pretend you do not exist (and I pretend I do not exist either, because I am always resisting –) and then the work ensues. Sometimes.

Anaïs Duplan is the author of Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, October 2015). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Birdfeast, Phantom Limb, amongst other journals. She is a staff music writer for No Fear of Pop and Decoder Magazine. She is also head astronaut at The Spacesuits, a collaborative arts initiative to generate artworks on the Afrofuture. 



interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson