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Transom:
Your poem “Pineapple” begins by forbidding comparisons between “Fruit” and “Woman,” but then proceeds to elaborate on this relationship by personifying a pineapple in womanly terms and describing a woman in pineapply ones. In this way, the argument of your poem seems to dissolve into its sonic pleasures. Does this poem invite the reader to prioritize the subtleties of sound over overt metaphor?

Barokka:
This is a great question; thank you. “Pineapple” actually begins not by forbidding wholesale fruit-woman comparisons, but by forbidding such comparisons being taken for granted and tossed about hastily, “[A]s a matter of course, automatic simulacrum.” As the poem states, I’d like to see a woman characterized as a pineapple only when she is “cleaved by itself alone,” with dignity, not when taken for food to be chopped and used indiscriminately. In this sense, metaphor is just as important as sound throughout the poem.

This piece came about in a funny way. It was written in 13 minutes on a day in February (I don’t usually time my writing, lurking members of any writerly dork patrol! Please have mercy... This is probably the only instance I have.) in response to an artwork about a pineapple. The painting made me think of how so many Indonesian women carry some kind of passed-around myth about how eating pineapples can effect vaginal health, some say positively, others negatively. I always thought that was kind of hilarious – but to be honest, have subconsciously avoided ingesting pineapples more often than not, because of these myths.

What I love about the final poem's incarnation is actually how the submission process to Transom itself inadvertently caused a change: I don’t remember “All the menace of such myth” being in italics, but when the poem was accepted, I saw that the line was suddenly in italics, and that made it So. Much. Better. Happenstance, coincidence, a pineapple spirit deciding to edit the poem to its liking – you decide. So what that taught me was that you can be as relieved as you want about a poem coming out, for once, “fully formed,” but there is always the overwhelming likelihood that the poem itself knows what's better for it, and how you and it can improve.