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Transom:
This poem dramatizes the central surrealist impulse of bringing the dream world into the waking world. Is that crossing over a source of energy, or an important part of your poetics?

Marvel-Coen:
Yes, although I’ve never really thought of my poetics as surrealist, despite the surrealist vibe my poetry often evokes. My focus has always been on taking an ordinary image or concept, and turning it on its head or examining it until it becomes something bizarre, grotesque, or fantastic. To clarify that a bit, it’s never a matter of looking at something and saying, “let’s make this weird”, it’s more about writing and picking at the object until it’s stranger qualities reveal themselves. This definitely leads my poems to take on a dreamlike quality, but rarely do I set poems within dreams, or intentionally take imagery from dreams to create that atmosphere. I think our brains naturally reveal the odder qualities of the ordinary in dreams, so I think I create a surrealist quality in my poetry without necessarily thinking, “I want to use imagery from a dream state.”

Transom:
It’s difficult to read the word “drones” in your poem without thinking about recent headlines regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the War on Terror. “I’m awake, and aware” says your speaker, “of the honeycomb of pavement.” Despite the fact that your drones are “dreamt,” can your poem be read as a commentary on the surveillance state?

Marvel-Coen:
I think this might just be a case of “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”. When I wrote this poem I was honestly just thinking of drone as a way to refer to bees. I originally composed this poem about five years ago, so, while drones were being used in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it wasn’t the buzzword it is today. It’s really interesting how quickly the association of a word can change, and unintentionally add an emotional charge to a poem. Which, I suppose, is an important thing to take into account when editing. The poem does take a big shift in tone near the end, although it wasn’t meant as a realization of the surveillance state, and more of a realization of the current obsession with being a cog in the machine, rather than searching for what is fulfilling in life.