O ne of the most interesting discussions between poets over this past year has been that initiated by Alessandro Porco with Alice Burdick (author, most recently, of Holler).

Begun last year at Open Book Toronto, the conversation continues now on the Lemonhound blog. This time Alice talks about poetry and visual art; her late mother Mary Paisley, who was a visual artist; younger Alice’s relationship with an older poet; gender and representation; small press; and politics in poetry:

When things come up that are political, it’s because that’s part of what I’m thinking about, the spectrum— so it’s an organic part of the sprawl. But I definitely have opinions! I really hate the gloss on bullshit, the language of oppression. I don’t usually enjoy poems that are “this is about this,” alone. Something else has to be going on, or else it’s a bit skillet on the noggin.

Mansfield editor Stuart Ross, who has edited all three of Alice’s full-length collections (one for Pedlar Press and the other two for Mansfield), says, “I love these interviews. At first glance, Alice’s work can seem dense and complex, but as you read more of it, and re-read it, and find more ways into it, you see the profound humanness, the incredible sense of play — her work is very cerebral but it’s also extremely entertaining! (In that way, it reminds me of John Ashbery’s poetry.) I’m grateful for these interviews with Alessandro, because they provide some great background to Alice’s poetry, and offer interesting ways into the work. And Alex’s own insights, and responses to her work, are engaging and intelligent.”

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