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Transom:
In your poem “Is This California—,” the speaker’s impossible wishes are compared to the doomed journey of a “hot wax-winged fellow.” But your speaker crashes “into the sun” – the source of hurt and danger as well as light and life – while Icarus plunged into the sea. Part of what thrills us about this poem is how it seems to operate successfully as a love poem and an anti-love poem. Is this duality an important part of your poetics?

Carlson:
Not only is duality an important part of my poetics, but contrast and tension are also. I find the ugliness and brokenness in beauty far more interesting than something completely perfect. I’ve always loved fancy but broken buildings, scars on an otherwise perfect patch of skin, because it’s in the scar or crumbling bricks or busted out window that the story lies.