Shelly Taylor | January 4, 2013
1. Where are you now?
Wednesday: Tucson International Airport, on way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to give a reading & hang out with poet Abraham Smith.
Now, post-reading, desert home, thinking of grading 80 comp essays lying on floor, yet watching the “The Real Housewives of New York City” Reunion, biting nails, drinking hot tea, not wanting to grade said essays; Sawako Nakayasu’s nothing fictional… is by my desk so I’ve flipped through it a couple times tonite so as not to grade comp essays; recovering from bigass lasagna din that my pal & I just ingested. It’s Monday.
2. What are you working on and what have you got coming out?
Just finishing up second book—-Lions, Remonstrance—-& have poems out recently in Pinwheel, Phantom Limb, & Dusie’s “Radical Vernacular” Issue. I’ve started giving thought into book three: historical/fictional lyric novella thing set in territorial Tucson times, that gun slinging, that leg slung over the front railing kind of thing.
3. Where do you write?
Home, at desk by window, in Barrio Viejo, Rubio, little desert alley street. I write best in my little cottage in southern Georgia on family farm. Also Key West does me well.
4. What’s the last best thing you’ve read?
Currently reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, which is just what I need this season in my life. So many recent good things: Maggie Nelson’s Bluets & Jen Denrow’s California are pretty damn great, as well as Mara Vahratian’s chapbook, Soaptrees, out from Dancing Girl Press—this lil chap is spectacular & I recommend it to everyone. A friend gave me James Welch’s Riding the Earthboy 40 which has some nice moments: “Time is clean / and brief for girls in a wild time / past for ladies up like smoke in narrow wind.”
I always read Letters to Yesenin. Each year too, since teenage years, I reread Harrison’s Dalva & The Road Home. I recently read Alyssa Nutting’s Unclean Jobs for Women & Girls & thought it fine. On my bedside table is a stack of books I am reading at the moment—-my “short stack” as Barbara Cully’d say, work that is feeding the writing in some way or another; they are Lynda Hull & James Schuyler’s Collected poems, Jorie Graham’s Sea Change, CD Wright’s Rising, Falling, Hovering, Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, & Stanford’s Battlefield…which constantly gets my attention. My alarm clock sits atop all these books on my little nightstand a high rise.
5. What journals, poets, presses have you discovered lately?
Pinwheel—lovely Stephen Danos & Dolly Lemke, hard working good people—debut issue dropped two weeks ago. BWR is always good—-recent editor poet AB Gorham is amazing—-just discovering her work which is fantastic & out in numerous journals. Poet Joseph Mains just recently took over Octopus Mag, & I can’t wait to see what he puts together in his debut issue as editor.
I want to read Mark Leidner’s Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me. We know each other from southern Georgia, teenage years—-I think I remember him chilling on my porch in Tifton & have heard his work is stellar. I’m needing to get The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein, as my mentor Steven Salmoni & dear friend Tim Peterson both have essays there. Still can’t get over Controlling Interests—-just love it; all Bernstein has the ability to jolt. Goodmorning Menagerie is a chapbook press that’s making good looking books-—they put out a Laura Sims collection this past AWP 2012.
6. Care to share any distractions / diversions?
Horses. I try to ride every week with my friend Ralph out in Avra Valley—out past Marana, deep desert AZ. Ralph is a team roper & my horse for years is Max, a big ole Quarter Horse that I just love. I like to go out to music quite a bit; my pal Dan books pretty much all Tucson shows so I get the luxury to waltz right on in a lucky girl. Dinners out & big red wines are important to break monotony of teacher grind—-that living too much on earth. I’m sometimes a bartender which can be a diversion from writer/teacherly life & gives me a lil change in my pocket. Solitary road trips are a must—-esp to the Navajo Reservation a couple times a year.
7. What are you looking forward to?
Trying my best hand at living abundantly on a daily basis. Traveling to Spain this coming summer. Finishing grading 80 comp essays on the floor staring up at me…grrr. I’m going this weekend to my sister’s in LA for my niece Lyla G-Bear’s third birthday, a costume party. My granny & mama will be out there too, so it’s going to be fantastic as fam time = good times.
As per writing, I’d like to get a real start on this new book—-not linger too long in the space between: just throw the self to it & in it. I look forward to researching actual historical side of content-—stretching further into anti-genre, lyric-novella-type space, whatever that might mean.