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Transom:
American poets tend to take Pound’s dictum to “make it new” as a foundational principle, and as a result many of us have a short literary memory. The poetic culture in the UK seems far more conscious of the legacy of centuries of predecessors. What are the pleasures and challenges of contributing your voice to this chorus?

Hasler:
I think there must be something akin to the internet’s rule 43 when it comes to new ideas in poetics – if you can think of it, it’s already been done. So new isn’t enough.

Transom:
What’s happening now in the UK poetry scene that you find particularly exciting – or frustrating?

Hasler:
The urge to editorialise the present results in commentators stating, in consecutive weeks, both that poetry is stone dead and flourishing in full health. I suppose I should be grateful for even the glibbest press attentions, but I suspect UK poetry’s just struggling along as it ever has – and that will do. Good and bad poetry is produced, and published. The same could be said of the 1910s, the 1810s and so on. What I see, as a poet in the UK, is an extremely impressive array of poetries, and of projects and initiatives to maintain them. All of that’s great of course, but the main thing is there’s a lot of great writing going on – which is exciting. 

Transom:
Your poem, “The Animal in Motion,” contains the fascinating line, “the moment is neither imperial nor metrical, neither ends nor begins.” Eadweard Muybridge, the figure your poem contemplates, was an English photographer who created some of the earliest motion-picture projections. It does seem like the galloping horses are held captive in his still frames. In your opinion, do poems have the same trouble preserving their identities through time as embodied creatures do? Is the poem more like a “captive animal,” or, perhaps, like a photograph? [Feel free to reject both options!]

Hasler:
Poems are nebulous bastards, they are like most things. They are also as evasive as this answer feels it necessary to be. Tate Britain had one of their obscenely excellent exhibitions on Muybridge in 2010. I was fascinated by Muybridge’s life and work, making many notes in the assumption that I would then write a Muybridge poem. It didn’t happen for several years. I was interested in the black margins, the spaces between the frames. It seemed to be there that time existed, or was created – there is the forward movement, the moment of change … and it’s nothing. “Motion-picture” rather neatly encapsulates it, as only an oxymoron can – motion made up of a sequence of still-frames. See also, static words and the white around them. I was also fascinated by the fact Muybridge killed someone.