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