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Transom:
In your poem, “Hell,” the speaker “wait[s] in the landlocked sea which is not Hell as you would expect.” What opportunities does the tremulous condition of “waiting” offer your poem? And what differentiates this eternal-sounding (some might say, hellish) circumstance from Hell itself?

Abramowitz:
Waiting, as Beckett and Bishop knew particularly well, is both torture and imperative to creativity. Along with waiting comes anxiety, frustration, fear, idealism – and perhaps especially boredom. While no writer wants to either be bored or bore his or her audience, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips writes that “the paradox of the waiting that goes on in boredom is that the individual does not know what he was waiting for until he finds it, and that often he does not know that he is waiting.” Does not that sound like a definition of reading a poem? So writing and reading poems may be a kind of hell!

Transom:
Diagramming your poem, “The Blue Square” would be a fun challenge. We’d need several chalkboards to do it properly, since your poem makes abundant use of conjunctions and prepositions. Diagramming would leave us with a constellation of dotted and slanted lines. Are these parts of speech the major rivets that bind your images in this poem?

Abramowitz:
Confession: I have never learned to diagram a sentence. But I like the idea of prepositions as “hinges” – the parts of speech that make things move. Diagramming a sentence looks, I see, like a great robotic beast with hinges for joints, so that makes good sense in my brain. I will now go learn how to make these robots.

Transom:
We at Transom are always fascinated when a poem comes to us in the first-person plural voice of “we” rather than the singular “I.” In “The Blue Square,” it seems vital that the readers perceive the “we” as both wounded and potentially dangerous as they “march” towards the mysterious “enemies.” Is there a subtle social commentary embedded in your choice of pronoun?

Abramowitz:
The “we” was just a way of getting away from “I,” to be honest. I see how that avoidance has made this into a rather political poem, which was unintended, but is a nice side effect of a stylistic experiment.