The triolet is an unusual form—in
Anglophone poetry, anyway. What drew you to this form for this project?
Do you see a relationship between this form, or formal poetry in
general, and mental illness?
Oh yes, there is most definitely a link
between the form and the subject matter, as I am not a formalist poet
by any means. The triolet was a complete accident. Before I found
effective medication, I had been writing poems that were exceedingly
long and highly associative; the language often was really disfigured;
to my mind, it reflected the sort of narcassist mania which accompanies
When I finally got the correct medication (it
took three 3 years), I wanted to use a form that would force me to be
precise, to shut the fuck up, and to reflect (and reflect on) the
convalescence process. The discovery of the triolet was just an
accident, but I immediately knew this form was for me. The sonnet is
too built-up and controlled, often driven on rhetorical clarity. The
villanelle—even a really good one—is too calculated in its movements.
Etc. etc. I wanted a quick gut punch.
The triolet—well, the form is a form of drowning. You can't transcend
jack shit and you can't build any authority because of its highly
restrictive structure. I found out right away that most triolets are
delicate and often have a light or wry touch. But then there are these
triolets by Thomas Hardy, Joshua Mehigan, and Anne Waldman that are so
damn urgent and precise.
those writers, I lack the refinement to write metrically pure triolets
for an entire book-length sequence. BUT, I did think I could manuever
within the general spirit of the form. The result are poems where the
language struggles with its own authority and "meaning." The form
reflected order and disorder in the voice, often highlighted by heavy