DeWitt Brinson: You make music. Describe a song you've written using only the words dun and de. Capitalize where appropriate.


Christopher Shipman:

     

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun de dun

 

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun de dun

 

Dun dun de dun     DUN DUN     de DE dun   DUN DUN

Dun dun de dun     DUN DUN     de DE dun   DUN DUN

 

(*de de)

 

Dun de dun dun  Dun de dun dun (de de) Dun de dun dun (de de)

Dun de dun dun  Dun de dun dun (de de) Dun de dun dun (de de)

 

Dun de dun de de dun de de dun

Dun de dun de de dun de de dun

Dun de dun de de dun de de dun

 

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun de dun

 

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun dun

Dun dun de dun de dun


  


DB: Take one line from each of these poems and write a new poem.



CS:


If I want to be a baby I want


to stop all the madness to

open inside a blue balloon

into pretty kids

into an entire species

buzzed by your desire




DB: Was "pearl necklace" meant as a double entendre or just literally as cum shot?


CS: There was no cum shot in mind at all. At least not when I was writing this poem. At least I don’t think so. I can’t really remember, really. I mean, I think about cum shots from time to time. Not sure if I wanted the pearl necklace to be a figurative cum shot or both though. Likely not. It is definitely not meant to be literal alone. While I have no problem with using a cum shot as an image in a poem, if I had wanted to I would have likely rather just written the line “like a cum shot.” Why not just give this image if you want a literal image to be that literal? Or at least point to that literalness in more ways? But then again, cum shots shoot a lot of what I wanted to (as far as I can tell) shoot into the poem here- the purposefulness of action that both connects and disconnects people from one another, but people I would say have fewer reasons to cum shoot than they do to either give or wear a pearl necklace. And perhaps that was my thinking or feeling all along. I like ambiguity and the fact that folks will attach a lot of things to an image (like cum shots) when all I am thinking of is a feeling that an image evokes, which means that in any case the image in question begins with the literal image of the pearl necklace before anything else.



DB: How does the force of one's peers change a person?



CS: See numbers 2 and 3, or your own past. I can only speak to this by looking at my own experience. I agree with George Orwell when he says that we can only really learn about the mystery of childhood by looking back to our own. And I bring up childhood because it seems this is the time we are most impressionable (at least in some ways) by our peers. I would say that as far as my poetry peers are concerned that nothing helps me more than reading the work of others. I mean everything is out there but we have to jump into how everyone else is talking about it. It’s fun.




DB: Why do you watch movies? What is the quality of your viewing?


CS: I watch movies because they are cool and because Frank O’Hara never told my mother to tell me to watch movies. The second part of this question seems to refer to the kinds of movies I watch. I watch a lot of long television series on Netflix, which perhaps says more about the time we live in than me. I think we like to stay with stories longer and get to know characters more these days than in the past- a sort of replacement of the long novel. In any case, I only watch things that provide me with some form of emotional reaction- entertainment that fuels my other interests. I am not judging those who watch reality TV about rich wives of basketball players or whatever but these do absolutely nothing for me whatsoever. And this keeps me out of mindless conversations and keeps me from providing an easy explanation for the mindlessness I experience anyway. I agree with Frank in that poems can’t do what movies can, and that is perhaps the main reason I watch them, but there are a lot of interesting similarities between these art forms.  



DB: To you, what's your weakest and strongest poem in this selection? Why?

 

CS: All of these poems are amazing. Because. It’s hard for me to judge them in terms of weak and strong because it sounds like I need an academic rubric to do that. And those things hurt me. I guess I would say I like the Pinocchio poem best because it provides me with the most personal revelations, it takes me the most places, and writing it was one of those inexplicable experiences at a dark dirty bar. I like the images it uses too. I guess I like the haiku the least because I am quite fond of writing haiku and this one never seemed quite right.




DB: How do you want to be recognized not just as a poet but as a human who lived today? How might that change as you get older?



CS: Like my experience with my work, half the time it is easy to tell myself I am a good person, that I am happy. Then I am in a state of constant self-loathing. I said above that all these poems are amazing, and I meant it, but if asked tomorrow I might say that they all sucked. And I would mean it. I guess in the end I just want to be what I tell myself most other people I know are trying to be, a decent person just trying to figure shit out. I have no idea how that will change as I get older. I just hope it doesn’t get too much harder, or too much harder for me to see this in others.




DB: To me most of these poems don't focus on the metamorphosis of a character but rather on the transitions between forces and environments surrounding the character. It made me think that when we watch a movie, scenes are often more complex than characters. You may keep noticing new details of scenes long after nuances of the actors are revealed. Talk a little about that in relation to these poems.



CS: Great question. I think I partially answered this question in a couple questions above. I really enjoy the similarities in poetry and film. They are both based in the image. We can go places in poems from line to line, and in movies from scene to scene, just as we zap through time and space in dreams. The whole time we or the speaker or the voice or the actor maintains some semblance of sameness yet the environment changes which forces little changes in action, mood, tone, etc. I think of much of the work here in terms of creation myths that have some sort of end as well. The journey in the poem is a life that is very condensed to quick leaps through a large span of time and space. This is at least true in some way for a few of the poems. I like the fact that once we are here there is always the beginning and the ultimate end yet that doesn’t make us disinterested in what occurs in between. As I go I gather little movies in my head that are always a bit fuzzy. There is always something I can’t quite come to terms with, something I can’t quite imagine, but the people I meet and the places I go and the things I do tell me little things about me along the way. So maybe it is these things that point to the metamorphosis of character that may be the undercurrent here. Or maybe the metamorphosis has already occurred. I recently read a great ending line in the H.L. Hix poem, “Counterexamples” that may make more sense than anything I am saying- “You say what we can imagine matters most. I say what we cannot.”    











christopher

shipman



interviewed by the tender, young, virile writer


DeWitt Brinson

photo credit: Ryan Gibbs

Shipman is author of Human-Carrying Flight Technology (Blaze VOX), Romeo’s Ugly Nose (forthcoming from Allography Press), and coauthor with DeWitt Brinson of Super Poems (forthcoming from Kattywompus Press). His poems appear in journals such as Cimarron Review, The Offending Adam, and Salt Hill, among many others. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been featured on Verse Daily. Shipman is poetry editor for DIG Magazine of Baton Rouge, where he runs the River Writers Reading Series with Vincent Cellucci.


www.christophershipmanwritingwork.com

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