DeWitt Brinson: When I read these, I felt like each line was a poem and the poem itself was a book of poetry. Why do I feel this way?

Laura Goldstein: You feel that way because I wanted you to feel that way. The poem was actually constructed one line at a time from bottom to top. I was experimenting with the line and its independence, interdependence. Since this is also a poem about the relationship between the ideologies of Feudalism and Capitalism in terms of their treatment of the individual as part of a system of power, I wanted to choose a form where the use of language would reflect these ideas.

DB: As the poems trail back to the left margin, what are you chasing?

LG: Depending on which side you are on, you are chasing the intruders from the castle or the royalty from their stronghold.

DB: Do you remember your dreams and do you believe in ghosts?

LG: I remember my dreams in the moments after I have them. If I solidify a waking narrative, I can remember them longer, but then an imposed meaning has replaced the dream. The memory has replaced the experience. I only believe in ghosts metaphorically. Like God.

DB: Why do you think the way you do about your closest friend's mother?

LG: You mean as the source of my friend? As representative of the generation that produced our relationship? What if my closest friend IS my mother?

DB: When is the best time to eat?

LG: The best time to eat is in the afternoon. That is the time of day that lets go of itself. Food tastes better. Little bits of cheese grated onto little bits of bread and glued with jelly.

DB: Talk about intensity versus density of these poems even as I'm starting to suspect that they aren't really poems but tiny plays even smaller than half of each line?

LG: The poems built themselves like we built this city on rock and roll. The poems built a city. So first off I want to say that I am only in charge of setting poems in motion and then they do find their way into being. This is related to how I feel about humans. We are set into motion somehow- first with our own big bang of birth, but then in every second we are propelled by the circumstances that create identity and personality. I like to make poems that are like people, not a reflection of only one (myself). Therefore, the intensity is meant to be created mostly in the reader by how the density is observed. My pleasure within the process of the poems building themselves out of the process that has put my own observations of the world into motion is the attention to language. And, yes, there is a play in there somewhere as well because of how the entire process of living and creating is a performance or the creation of a performance. The more I can make that a framework for the experience of the poem, the better the poems can be understood in context.

DB: What if?

LG: It is.

DB: Imagine what a stranger you've seen recently would think of your poems. Please share what they said and how you feel about it.

LG: This is interesting but I don't understand it.

DB: Draw a duck. Stare at the duck for one whole minute. Now, what poet should I read of whom I've likely never heard?

LG: I drew a duck in my mind, I hope that counts. For some reason it has wheels. Therefore you should read some of what Nikki Wallshlaeger is writing. Her poems are slowly coming out soon. The way that she plays with language within a sense of urgency about the world is deeply compelling because of its political attention and uncanny knowledge of the human conundrum but also because of how she uses language in sticky tricky ways to drive that point home. Sorry I skipped number 8. I will answer that for number 9.   

DB: Who's a poet I have likely read and should reread?

LG: Lyn Hejinian



interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson

Laura Goldstein has published six chapbooks including phylum from horse less press and let her from dancing girl press, as well as poetry and essays in the Denver Quarterly, American Letters and Commentary, How2, Jacket2 and other fine publications. She teaches Writing and Literature at Loyola University and is the co-curator of the Red Rover Series with Jennifer Karmin. Her first collection of poetry, loaded arc has recently been released by Trembling Pillow Press, and the poem facade appears in her second book, awesome camera, which is forthcoming from Make Now Press in 2014.