Your upcoming poetry collection In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen has a lot of great buzz, which is awesome because I feel like that's rare for a poetry collection. I don't have a great question here, but what's that been like?
Thanks! That’s kind of you to say. This year is a great year for poetry, which I think – no, know – is indicative of many more great years to come, and I’m really just honored to have a book coming out into this moment’s ether that a few people want to read. This book feels a lot like it should be my first book, since it's the one I've worked on the longest and contains the most of me. All of this is really beautiful, and I'm working hard lately to remind myself of such beauty when I feel down or scared, as I often do. That being said, I’ve never been the best salesman for my work. I believe in it and believe that people should read it if they want to know what it is to feel the world through me, or maybe feel the world a little differently through their own selves. I think about this a lot – of course I would love people to buy my work and I’m forever grateful that people do, but it’s hard to ask for such a thing when so much else exists that is worth time and money and eyes and ears and heart. So I want to use this space to highlight some books that have come out, or will come out, that excite me: Chen Chen’s When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, Lynn Melnick’s Landscape with Sex and Violence, Javier Zamora’s Unaccompanied, jayy dodd’s Mannish Tongues, literally everything by Eloisa Amezcua, Ariel Francisco’s All My Heroes Are Broke, Keegan Lester’s this shouldn’t be beautiful but it was & it was all i had so i drew it. I love all of the above and more.
What are you working on this fall?
Perhaps most importantly to me, I’m teaching a few classes at City College and also still cherishing the immense privilege I have to work full time with high school students on art and college stuff and everything in between. In terms of writing, well, I’m writing poems when the poems come and taking some time to think of how to shape a newer collection that is perhaps a little more fervent and weird than what I’ve been writing, or what I’m used to writing. I’d like to straddle some ridge line of risk and challenge and see what the outcome of such newness is, to write some poems I wouldn’t recognize as my own if I was drunk. I’m also tinkering with a children’s book, a thing that none of my friends take seriously when I tell them. And I’m making strides towards a much bigger project on the nonfiction side of things that I am keeping close to my chest.
What can people expect from your reading?
A few poems with some self-deprecating banter between them. I’ll probably do some shit with my hands, some wavy shit. I’ll say some things soft, some things loud. And I’ll listen to the great lineup you curated and be really happy doing it.