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Transom:
The end of this poem seems to reject the fundamental premise of the love poem: that you can send a message to the beloved instead of communicating directly, in person. Do you trust poems?

Brown:
I don’t trust language at all, which is what makes it such an attractive tool for expression. That is why the dictionary is my silent boyfriend. We sext.

My poems do not privilege cerebral experimentation; my poems do intend to instigate (or at last address) feelings, as a way to establish empathy. So, you can say that all my poems are conscientiously love poems. The degree to which they are affective/effective is the degree to which I trust them. Plus, I love a good volta, which is why this poem has a little orphan reroutement.

Transom:

This poem bounces between sincerity and play, between earnestness and punning. Do you think of those as opposing forces, or are they related some other way?

Brown:
I firmly credit playfulness and humor with facilitating, for me, serious content. Both tonally and with puns, I rely on surprise and juxtapositions for a sense-making ambush. If a reader is bored to death, gravitas will not penetrate.


A letter-pressed edition of this poem, designed by Laura Capp and printed at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, is available here.