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Transom:
In this poem, your speaker wrestles with a nameless, increasingly powerful "he" inside a quickly disintegrating dreamscape. Is the fluidity of dream something that informs or inspires your work?  If so, what does dreaming allow you to do in poems that a "waking voice" could not do?

Rossouw:
My desire as a poet is surprise. So, yes, the fluidity of dream totally informs my work, as it so often leads to surprise, especially if the poem gives us a sense of being inside a dream rather than trying to represent it from the outside. As much as I love cinema, it often fails to represent dreams visually because it tries too hard to be dreamlike. When you're actually dreaming it isn't dreamlike--it's excruciatingly real! Often as I am writing I have the sense that I am chasing a dream that I can't quite remember. I'm thinking here of the speaker in one of Rimbaud's Illuminations who chases a personified dawn, a beautiful instance of writing from inside the dream. Rimbaud's landscapes are so true to dream in that their simultaneous contradictions and visual surprises can't be fully resolved in waking life. Some of his imagery moves so fast it is impossible to visualize, only to experience it. This is dream. In the same way, if things are going well, the ending of a poem is as much a surprise for me as it is for the reader. That said, I very seldom write about dreams I've actually had. Mostly I see dream as an approach. In the case of "Liquid Epaulet," however, the sense of wrestling with a nameless "he" is very much from a dream I had, and it was a terrifying experience. The dream wouldn't leave me and the poem became my response. I guess I like the result because not even I could tell you exactly who that "he" is. Where the speaker and the "he" finally end up--a metaphoric Leningrad--didn't stem from my dream, but spontaneously emerged as I wrote. Another surprise.