A Brief Interview with Adalena Kavanagh
There's a lot of beautiful language in your short story "In Love with an Anarchist." I especially loved the sentence: "Outside the Strand, next to the dollar books, a patrician homeless poet pinned me with swimmy eyes behind cracked lenses." Do you go over lines like this a lot until it works or did that come out pretty much fully formed on the first draft?
This story was originally titled "Notes Toward Nostalgia" and started with the mood of a memory of someone letting down a bucket with a faded $5 bill in 1997 Williamsburg. I kept coming back to this story because a) I couldn't find a publisher and b) I consciously wanted to work with imagery rather than dialogue, so I refined the lines more than I might have, but I'm glad I did.
In addition to writing fiction, you've also conducted a number of great interviews for Electric Literature and you're a librarian. Do you ever see any famous Brooklyn writers at the library?
I don't actually work at the public library but I spend much of my downtime there. When I first moved to Brooklyn, and first started going to Central Library in Grand Army Plaza, I used to write on the first floor where there are portraits of great Brooklyn writers. I often gave them the finger, mostly Norman Mailer. I have since moved operations to a different floor, where I've seen a MacArthur Grant Genius on numerous occasions. When you're in the presence of genius you just work harder —whether it's out of spite, or inspiration, depends on the day.
What can people expect from your reading?
After my last reading a man came up to me and said "You worked blue!" I plan to read the same piece, so expect me to work blue, I guess.