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Transom:
Your poem seems to celebrate the arrival of a future: “we are of age.” But it ends still looking forward: “our child will thank us when he is calmer.” Both statements are made with certainty. Can we know the future before it becomes the present?

Lipper:
I am a proponent of planning. I’d like to think I incorporate certainty into much of my work, even among statements or images that are intangible.  In this poem, I was very much preoccupied with the idea of physical things occurring without having any context or making any actual sense. I wondered what it would be like to have major life events, like marriage and childbirth, occur so instantaneously, without heartbreak or amniotic fluid. The romanticizing of societal expectations is a theme I like playing with (and distorting).

Transom:
We wonder what it means to “piss pearl.” It sounds like an undesirable effect, but in the poem, the speaker takes it as a sign that “it is the greatest part of summer.”

Lipper:
I really enjoy the poetic conceit of flowers. However, I have a fear of being ultra-feminine and wanted to slightly warp this poem through the use of a semi-unpleasant word: piss. I also wanted to contrast the modernity of this word with the more arcane language in the text as I used a book about plants and flowers published in the 1730s as inspiration. I was interested in the idea of only seeing the end-product of a situation. We never see or hear of the formation of the pearl. Regardless of how it was created, we can enjoy it for its aesthetic beauty. The creation of the pearl (a child) is also a testament to the innocence/naiveté of the couple.

Transom:
Your poem demonstrates a great deal of sonic play. We are struck by the proliferation of “p,” “b,” and long “e“ sounds. If this is a “second song,” is there a “first song?” Are you guided by music?

Lipper:
There was never a first song! This is primarily because I wanted the title to convey a femininity through the soft “s” sounds (although maybe I was also subconsciously influenced by the TV On The Radio song). I also wanted the title to jump to this particular scene – one that lacks any complexity.

I grew up in a household that played “Sketches of Spain” by Miles Davis on the regular. I’m often influenced by jazz, hip-hop, folk, etc., and typically try to incorporate musicality into the poems that I want to be playful. I’m drawn to work that plays with sounds, like that of Monica Youn or Brenda Shaughnessy.