Time to cut it open.
Magic Helicopter Author Interview: Carrie Lorig
So this begins a new series here on this Magic Helicopter tumblr, interviews with our authors—to preview, to review, to catch up and feel happy together once again.
This whole thing gets walloped first by Carrie Lorig, author of NODS., MHP’s newest release and the first chapbook in the new Gobble Editions series. Check out what Carrie has to say about what this chapbook means to her, how it developed, and what this book would look like if it were a painting (PLUS MUCH MORE OF COURSE). Then, grab yourself a copy of that wildthing NODS.
Carrie stoked with NODS. at its first arrival.
1.What is this book? What’s it mean to Carrie Lorig? Why NODS.?
a) This book is an attempt to document and give dark/bright life to the sense of being overwhelmed by the world and by the potential to love in the world. It is the hope that swelling will not be a pushing out or closing off but a productive, necessary spilling. These are the wounds that will not be forced to heal, but will change and overlap with each other. This book is built by the idea that a poem can’t and shouldn’t always hold a poem. It is a gleeful and futile attempt to herd a flood of constant, fragmented emotions and desire. It is a reaction to growing up covered in cows and horses and fur and fields and allergies. It is a vocal register set to female and to you and to I and to intimate and to underground. It is lost down here in cloth and up there in sky and in high temperatures and in pools of unashamed shame. My damage is my joy is my handmade canyon is a growth. I want to be able to reach, and I also want to recognize, in a microscopic/telescopic way, how often reach doesn’t or can’t work. How difficult and present light can still be after that! The bodies of words shake like mine does, like my little does. I wanted to give and give and die and die wrapped in leather and dirt. I wanted to flip off cowboys by putting fireworks in their hands as gently as I couldn’t.
b) As soon as I finished writing NODS. for real, I called Jared Joseph, the J who the book is dedicated to, and like…cried while curled up in a ball of a ball of a ball. I was tired of myself, my room, my computer. When I got to the end of the writing, I thought something I could palm would be there. I thought I would walk away with some new tool belt for being a Carrie Lorig and a (trash)human. I expected Werner Herzog to show up with my celebratory beer. This is so contrary to what I stand for poetically (Anne Boyer: I write to undermine perfect confidence). It is so contrary to what I just said above, but nonetheless, I felt oddly displaced and covered in ugly migratory patterns. I don’t mean to linger here so much as to bring us towards a point where I say this book is a documentation of an intense relationship I have with myself re: my relationships with others. Thus, it has to mean everything. However, how it continues to mean and echo and stain glass through me after the fact will go on for a good, long while and at a pace I can’t control. I think, actually, this is how most books mean to us despite our impatient penchant for the quick pay off.
c) Ha! Nick Sturm suggested this title to me like the second or third time we ever talked? ‘Nods’ is something I say on G-chat with startling regularity. IT’S A HABIT. I began typing it as a way to express listening and attentive-ness, which on some level, is poetry’s only ratty bathrobe. And both Nick and Jared, who read a lot of these poems en-route to the slaughterhouse, commented on how strong some of the affirmative emergences of the text were despite the shitty shit that is also there stink waltzing and barfing repeatedly. I hope that can be something a reader can clutch while on the way to Tahiti or the grocery store. Once I had that casual suggestion, I began seeing it everywhere as the only title the book could have. I write by reading out loud, by sound, by mishearing and rehearing and by turning my tongue/ear over and over. So NODS. became an obvious nod to the rhythm and performance that is necessary to engaging with this text. It became the invitation to nod along while I read outloud or while you read to yourself, the reassurance that you won’t be entirely lost in being open to being so lost.
2. What published pieces from the book best illustrate the power and intent of the book?
This is hard. The scatterstate in Everyday Genius, IT CAN’T BE LOVE / IT MUST BE LOVE in Stoked. The cattlehurter in Whiskey Island. You know, this scatter in Jellyfish didn’t end up being in the manuscript, but I still listed it in the acknowledgements because its spirit was therethere, so I’m going to say that one, too. Maim Cattle. Pain holding flowers.
"anne boyer, i write to undermine perfect confidence"
My thesis defense is tomorrow! There will be yolky sacs.
Almost ten years ago, I stumbled upon Wong May’s first book of poems, A Bad Girl’s Book of Animals in the public library in Akron, OH, and having never before heard of her, and unable to find any information about her written after 1978, I wrote a Recovery Project in Octopus Magazine #3. Unlike what I said in that recovery project, Wong May has in fact not disappeared. Octopus Books will publish Wong May’s first book of poems since her last was published in 1978. It will be edited by myself and Brandon Shimoda, and it is called Picasso’s Tears.
Wong May was born in Mainland China and raised in Singapore, where she obtained an English degree from the University of Singapore before attending the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is the author of A Bad Girl’s Book of Animals (Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich,1969), Reports (Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, 1972), Superstitions (Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, 1978), and the forthcoming Picasso’s Tears (Octopus Books). She now lives in Ireland.
Read four of Wong May’s new poems, and what C.D. Wright has to say about them here.
"The culture-heroes of our liberal bourgeois civilization are anti-liberal and anti-bourgeois; they are writers who are repetitive, obsessive, and impolite, who impress by force—not simply by their tone of personal authority and by their intellectual ardor, but by the sense of acute personal and intellectual extremity. The bigots, the hysterics, the destroyers of the self—these are the writers who bear witness to the fearful polite time in which we live. It is mostly a matter of tone: it is hardly possible to give credence to ideas uttered in the impersonal tones of sanity. There are certain eras which are too complex, too deafened by contradictory historical and intellectual experiences, to hear the voice of sanity. Sanity becomes compromise, evasion, a lie. Ours is an age which consciously pursues health, and yet only believes in the reality of sickness. The truths we respect are those born of affliction. We measure truth in terms of the cost to the writer in suffering—rather than by the standard of an objective truth to which a writer’s words correspond. Each of our truths must have a martyr."
Susan Sontag, “Simone Weil” (via loneberry)
poetry for your momma // mt. vernon, iowa.
ritual poetry + sing-alongs. join us, won’t you?
“the world gave itself to you
but you didn’t give
you, grasshopper, back: ah so. This is suffering. Is it also a kind of gift?”
After the rapture, amid the lions and the limns
you’ll see me and know that
me being into you
was me being into the world. Are you as into the world
as the world is into you? No, I’m not being weird.
What I’m saying is, there is a sustainable energy. My great
aunt, for example, the way she bunched
hay at the base of that little pear tree.
to safeproof it from drought. She could barely walk—
but it was the kind of thing you could see from the moon
as I walked away from her house I
can’t explain it, the trees were screaming,
a finger pressed from the sky
down on the field of the whole which
was my sex. And earlier in her room I felt like puking
when she told me
she saw only a big light in front of me
but instead of the big light I walked into
big silence and
there you stood. End of story.
Is this what you meant
when you said we should watch some porn together?
-“The Mystery of Seagulls,” from Rise in the Fall by Ana Božičević
LISTENING POEM 2
after Joy Ladin
I hand my mother a poem
a very early age with material
we’re in a pickle.
What kind of poem
is a father or
a son a sheep with
in a cave.
teeth in winter.
I don’t love
like a first person
out of sufficient
What not digestible trope
The final issue of Red Lightbulbs.
cover art by Anders Nilsen
Writing/art by: Chad Redden, Robert Lopez, Matt Rowan, Cassandra de Alba, Joel Smith, Peter Jurmu, Leif Haven, James Tadd Adcox, Owl Brain Atlas, Cecelia Chapman, Erin Case, Christine Friedlander, José Manuel Hortelano-Pi, Frank Cademartori, Dana Telsrow, Cassandra Troyan, Dan Boehl & Carlos Rosales-Silva, Brett Elizabeth Jenkins, Kershea Clement, Ryan Bender-Murphy, Lindsay Ruoff, Curt Miller, Ben Mirov, Caroline Crew, Heather Palmer, Alexis Pope, Mike Young, Michelle Sinsky, Carrie Lorig, Wyatt Sparks, Zack Haber, Rachel Hyman, Mathias Svalina, Neal Kitterlin, Ken Baumann, Ashley Collier, Emma J. Lannie, Dennis Cooper, Sean Lovelace, Neila Mezynski, Blake Butler, xTx, Jess Dutschmann, Jeannette Gomes, Eileen Myles, Sasha Fletcher, Jordaan Mason, Molly Brodak, Justin Carter, Robert Duncan Gray, Shannon Burns, Philip Kostov, Shaun Gannon, Diana Salier, Jacques Rebotier (trans. by Zachary Schomburg), Feng Sun Chen