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These poems are sort of about places. I like poems about places.

So is your current focus on issues of space and geography a new development, or has this always been a theme in your poetry? Why is it important for you to write about places right now?

Cities and towns and places have always played a role in my work. I think that relationships to places can be like relationships with people: all the heartstuffs and the big joys and the harder things. Too, they simultaneously have this very personal and very public identity to them that I find interesting. These poems are kind of "about" Detroit. There's a bunch of elegiac public talk of Detroit lately, mostly (as Eminem said in that commercial) from people who have no personal investment in the city. There's some kind of pornographic schadenfreude with the empty building photos that keep getting press. And I think it's wack when some editor somewhere is like "Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and declare the death of the Motor City. That'll sell big!" It feels dishonest and sleazy and also like someone just called your mama a bad name. There are challenges, but Detroit is way bigger and way more vibrant than some dumb gritty/gothic image that evokes loss. So I guess I mean that I am interested in the public (in that these are poems about a place commonly known) and the personal (in that I am a person with my own relationship to this place), and how to write in a way that feels like it's truthful and good. Yes, truthful and good.