DeWitt Brinson: Name five things that aren't.

Daniela Olszewska: ppl who get pleasure out of reading beckett

                                a chicago accent

                                underwater reindeer

                                overwater mermaids

                                enough consonants in most slavic words

DB: Talk about the first one.

DO: graduate school is problematic, but if you can get funding + you are either single or have the way upperhand in yr relationship, you shd consider going. i esp recommend going somewhere w/mild winters.


DB: What is wrong with you?

DO: answer a: my mom is/was a research assistant at a cancer (curing) lab. when i was little, her lab would run these tests on rats that had been genetically-engineered to be immune system-less. the lab folks would inject these albino-looking rats w/cancers + then give the rats promising drugs to see if the cancers went away. the cancers didn't go away, obvs., otherwise my mom wd be rich + famous for helping cure cancer + i would wear vintage dior to most of my poetry readings. after the cancers didn't go away, they had to kill the rats. the lab had a rat-sized guillotine. my mom never actually guillotined the rats herself, but the knowledge that my mom worked in a place with a rat-sized guillotine is probably what made me grow up to be the poet-type person i am today.

       answer b: fuck you, there is nothing wrong w/me. : )

DB: What is wrong with everyone else?

DO: answer a: embarrassment over the necessity of emoticons.

       answer b: not enough embarrassment over the donning of cheap-looking


DB: Name five things you didn't do.

DO: my college professors


        make a comment/joke upon observing three of my polish family members

            attempting to change a lightbulb

        anything that would land me on the "do not fly" list

        pet/hug a sloth

DB: Talk about the last one.

DO: the problem w/cute animals is they become memes + then everyone accuses you of just liking said cute animal b/c it's, like, popular or whatever. as if i need the internet to get my brain to light up like an xmas tree on codeine when faced w/a baby (or even an adult) sloth…

DB: When did you learn to read and why weren't you given the choice to not?

DO: i learned to read in a steampunk-ish cossack prison that exists only in an unreleased neutral milk hotel song. wasn't given a choice in the matter b/c jeff magnum, as everyone knows, is a total fucking asshole.

DB: If you could be anyone else, how could you? Be very explicit in the details, many people want to know.

DO: the obv answer is i cd be a double-agent spy type person. can't be explicit at the risk of getting my neck piano-wired + all that. this is perhaps not a cute enough answer for such a good question. i'm sorry; i feel like i'm kind of failing at this interview.

DB: What about these poems resembles physical violence and what peaceful repression, if any?

DO: these poems resemble physical violence in that they will be erased once the interwebz breaks (though, truthfully, not sure if erasure is the same thing as physical violence). these poems aren't peaceful, they're probably repressive; i feel guilty about this.


DB: If an alien from another planet came to earth and read the answers to these questions, what would the alien think about the five things that aren't (which, for it, may well be the only five things that are, we don't know)?

DO: an alien wd probably think that beckett is our leader and that chicago is the capital of the world. they would be saddened by the lack of underwater reindeer and overwater mermaids, but i don't think they wd be, like, disgusted enough to turn around and go home.



interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer

DeWitt Brinson


Daniela Olszewska is the author of four collections of poetry: cloudfang : : cakedirt (Horse Less Press, 2012), True Confessions of an Escapee From The Capra Facility for Wayward Girls (Spittoon Press, 2013), Citizen J (Artifice Books, forthcoming Fall 2013), and (with Carol GuessHow To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming in 2014). 

She sits on Switchback Books’ Board of Directors and serves as an Associate Poetry Editor of Another Chicago Magazine. Previous editorial efforts include acting as Poetry Editor of Black Warrior Review (Issues 37.1 & 37.2) and as Editorial Assistant for Columbia Poetry Review (Issues 19 & 20). 

She was born in Poland and received her MFA from University of Alabama, but she self-identifies as a Chicagoan. 

Daniela tumblrs at