Many of the poems in this issue seem to coalesce around themes of
darkness and light. In what ratio of shade or illumination do your
poems thrive? Does a dark poem need light, and vice versa?
Oh, I’m super excited about this theme (and I can’t wait to read the
rest of the issue)! To offer an answer, though, I’ll start by finding
some footing. Thinking about your second question first, I’ll
hesitantly suggest that light and dark aren’t exclusively symbiotic—a
poem could invoke one quality without the other. I believe that this
probably depends on whether you’re considering light and dark as
literal representations of how space is perceived or whether you’re
also including emotional implications of image and tone, relationship,
A poem might not need both qualities, but I’ll suggest that I enjoy
poems when both are present. Light becomes more joyous; dark, richer,
when offset by their opposite—just as how paintings that feature
chiaroscuro, strong light-dark contrasts, nearly glow off their
canvases. However, light and dark are fickle and flighty. On any given
day—at any given moment—a reader might see or understand or hear
darkness or lightness based on tangible experiences of their day, the
light (or shadow) in the room, a current mood. So the reader is
intimately involved in the quality and ratio of light and dark in any
given poem. Perhaps that’s what I search for, then, in both writing and
reading poems: dark and light that, on the surface, hint at balance,
all the while pulling the reader in a direction that fulfills what
they’re subconsciously looking for.
Each of your poems ends with the erasure of individuality—in the first,
the heron bends “to eat itself,” while in the second piece, the dynamic
between the sisters seems to form a self-reflective, self-reinforcing
“zero.” Does infinity require the body to be consumed?
Wow! Infinity! That’s big. I’m not sure I can speak to how
infinity affects the body in its entirety. Or, maybe this is more
question of consumption—is it really consumption? Or expansion? Or
envelopment? In infinity, wouldn’t the body have to change in some way
to not be consumed by such a vastness?
Both of the bodies in these poems are surrounded by circumstance and
action and do undergo some final transformation. But in their
respective contexts, are the bodies consequence or instigator of each
final moment? Perhaps in addressing the poems’ new states, I needed the
body to consume itself in some way in order to continue to exist in its
newfound present. So then I might return to the beginning of your
question: am I erasing individuality? Or just changing what that
individual is? I’ll have to keep thinking about that.