A Brief Interview with Brandon Lewis

RS: You're a prolific poet who's had work published in super-legit publications such as An Aforementioned Product and very prestigious places like The Missouri Review. What has it been like to work with editors at different types of journals?

BL: Mostly I've had talented and helpful editors to work with, some pushing me to edit what I had to admit was my weakest line. And then there are those who seem AWOL, and I'd wonder if my poem had been lost. There are changes in formality from one to the next, as if you are not sure whether your poem has found a home at a friendly dive bar atmosphere or a stuffy 4-star affair.

You've been up for a number of top poetry prizes this year. Is the process of applying for those prizes exhausting or do you get into a nice flow and send your work out in batches?

Since I recently decided to push ahead with a new writing project, I've decided to put more time into the creative end and put as little stress as possible into sending out, no matter how huge and strange the sea is out there. But: the money, my god, the money. Like with MFAs, you have to wonder have sane or sustainable it is. Do I need to send this press $25? Am I merely making a donation, taking part in the some kind of welfare state for impoverished Poetry? Is it even true that poetry is not warped by money, as with other art forms? Would poetry's 'purity' really make it more free, or just more costly? Why do I see Forest Gander judging every prize in North America? I try to send to the presses that I respect during their open submission, but it's difficult to limit it there, just as it's difficult to not see a manuscript as a baby that needs a shelter soon. 

What's your favorite holiday food item? 

Oh man, my grandmother used to make this steamed cranberry pudding that I would dream about all year-- tart and molasses with an insanely thick buttery sauce. I want that.

Click here to read Brandon's latest poems in The Adirondack Review