Winter 2005-6

with Jane Ransom by Justin Kibbe on March 9, 2004.


Jane Ransom's writing provokes both horror and laughter. She captures the human experience of discomfort, and renders her characters and lyric speakers with such honesty and wit that we are compelled to withhold judgement of them, and humbly acknowledge both the violence and the beauty of violence in her writing and in our own lives. Jane Ransom is the author of two books of poetry, Without Asking (Story Line Press, 1989), which won the Nicholas Roerich Prize, and Scene of the Crime (Story Line Press, 1997). Her first novel, Bye-Bye (New York University Press, 1997) won the New York University Press Prize for Fiction and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Award. She has also been awarded residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell, and poetry fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council for the Arts. She has worked as an editor for the New York Daily News and the San Juan Star. She has lived in Madrid, Paris, Puerto Rico, New York, and currently resides in San Francisco, California. She is the granddaughter of John Crowe Ransom, and is currently the Distinguished Poet in Residence at St. Mary’s College of California.
Justin Kibbe was born in New Hampshire, graduated from Colorado State University with a BA and obtained an MFA at Saint Mary's College of California in 2004. He teaches at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colorado and is associated with Pirate Pig Press (

Kibbe: How did you get started writing? Were you encouraged by your family?
Ransom: My parents were pretty self-involved. They didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to what I was doing, but I do think having my grandfather [John Crowe Ransom] in the family made being a writer something that I knew real people could do.

: Were you writing at that age?
Ransom: The first poem I remember having written, I wrote around eleven or twelve when my parents told me they were getting divorced. I’m not going to recite it to you, but I can still remember it.

Kibbe: Was it always poetry that you would write then?
Ransom: No. That was written out of emotion, and even though the emotion was very sad I did get this thrill from how the words fell together and how it rhymed, and it was sort of fun to write so it gave me this double experience that I think most poets have when writing out of pain. There’s this joy in the thing that we make. I remember also in high school I won some short story contest for a story that was also written out of personal angst. It wasn’t that I was writing regularly as a kid or as a teenager. I was very excited about the idealistic muckraking journalist. I’d been the editor of the student newspaper. Then in my junior year of college I went off to Spain for a year, and when I got away from my identity relating to my family and got some distance for myself I realized that I just wasn’t as interested in journalism as I’d thought. That’s when I really started writing poetry seriously. I took a poetry class with Carlos BousoZo, who was a theorist, a poet, and a big name in Spain. I got really excited about poetry, and started writing a lot. So by the time I came back from my junior year I knew that, although I’d pursue journalism as a career, I wanted to write, but it wasn’t clear whether it was going to be poetry or fiction because I was doing both.

Kibbe: What are you reading now?
Ransom: Lately, I’ve been rereading my Shakespeare. I’m having a great time with all the rhythm, blank verse, and wittiness. One doubt I had about the shift when I went from the somewhat more lyrical, metaphorical, narrative voice of my first book to the so-called experimental or non-narrative “avant-garde” or any other somewhat inaccurate term you want to apply to the style of my second book was that the second one relied so much on punning. I began to wonder whether that was somehow cheap. It occurred to me that it wouldn’t translate well. One wonderful thing about Shakespeare is that the man never stops punning and that’s part of what makes him great. It’s given me a new permission to pun like crazy and just enjoy the magic of what happens when you pun and not to feel that it’s somehow light or. . .

Kibbe: Gimmicky?
Ransom: Yeah.

Kibbe: Do you still feel it’s a risk to use in writing or have you justified it now after reading Shakespeare?
Ransom: What I see in Shakespeare, and what I experienced before, but didn’t quite trust myself with, is that puns can lead you places unexpectedly. In the most obvious sense, they create many meanings at the same time. It’s very exciting if you can get the same line to work in, say, three ways. Especially if all those ways are actually valid; you really can capture something true about life because life is always more complex than we’re ever going to write in language, in a poem, in anything, and its one of the things that makes Shakespeare so rich. Also, adding to that is Freud’s idea that punning is a way of the subconscious talking to us. We pun in our dreams, for example. I find that when I’m writing, if I let myself think of puns, they often lead me to something meaningful, someplace the poem wanted to go that I might not have stumbled on if I were just pressing the poem in some linear, logical way. So it may be a gimmick in the way that any sort of inspirational exercise is a gimmick, but when a pun works well it can be the muscle of the poem, and then it’s not a gimmick.

Kibbe: In choosing what contemporaries you read what do you look for that makes it worthwhile to read the entire book? Do you have list of things that you look for, or is it more of an off the cuff general feel?
Ransom: I‘m more drawn to poems that show virtuoso skill in manipulating language and of playing fast and loose in a lot of different ways. It’s very difficult because a poem can appear gimmicky if it uses puns, breaks syntax, or scatters things across the page. When a poem breaks a number of rules and uses puns and so on and works, that is more impressive to me than a more straight forward lyrical poem. But I’m infrequently interested in so called LANGUAGE poetry or poetry that just focuses on language. Even If I can admire the person’s manipulation of language, I find it dull, dry, and pretty boring. For me, the gut and the heart are missing. I like some sort of hybrid of passion and verbal wit.

Kibbe: Do you have any poets as examples?
Ransom: Well, I like so many, (and I go through so many phases). Lately, I like Stephanie Brown a lot. James Tate. Rosemarie Waldrop. Jeffery McDaniels is great. I heard Sam Witt, a young poet, read recently at Adobe Books, and I thought he was terrific. There are all kinds of great writers, and I tend to like a lot of stuff.

Kibbe: Are there any writers that you go back to over and over again?
Ransom: I think many female writers have their Plath period. That was long ago for me, but certainly I read and re-read everything by Plath. After that I had a Louise Glück phase. Then for a while I was in love with anything published in that journal, o?blék. People have their Ashbery infatuations too, but I’m in this Shakespeare thing now.

Kibbe: Are there any you read to generate your own writing?
Ransom: Everything I read generates my own writing, not just poetry, but newspapers, and fiction, even advertisements. Sometimes when I’m writing fiction, I want to get into the voice or thoughts of a character, and I may go read something by another writer, but I don’t do that when I’m writing poetry. Being in this Shakespeare mode has affected my poetry writing. I find myself almost wanting to use “thous” and so on. You can’t help but be affected.

Kibbe: Is writing primary to your life or more of a byproduct that happens no matter what else you’re doing?
Ransom: I used to imagine that writing would be all I needed as intellectual emotional sustenance, and I think there are some writers who are madly prolific and for whom that works. What I’ve found out is that if I only focus on the writing, it tends to dry up. I don’t know why. Now, for example, I’m studying graphic design and I’m finding that very productive to my writing. It lets me out of this little rut that I get into when I focus too much on the writing. In that sense, writing is not primary, and I don’t think it ever will be because I’ll always need other avenues of creative expression, and other areas of interest. If I were only teaching, writing and hanging out with other writers, that would be very sterile.
I don’t want the writing to identify me. After I write something good I never have any idea how I did it. So I really envy people who are defined by what they’ve written, but it would never work for me because as soon as I write something, especially if it’s good, it just slips away and it’s like this stranger, this unrecognizable thing. It would be fine with me to get a regular job that would define me as a sort of humble every day person, and not as an Artist with a capital A. That would be really comfortable for me as far as my writing goes because then I can just write and not give a damn whether it’s successful or not.

Kibbe: I’m interested in how you relate to your work both in process and as a finished object. I’ve heard Carol Snow, a poet who works as an accountant, say that she’s never had a poetic thought while working. Do you experience that sort of separateness, or do the two blend a little bit more?
Ransom: I’m not the sort of person who can write in a café for example. I need this contemplative feeling of wide-open space and leisure. In that sense I guess I agree with her, but at the same time. I need the stimulation of being out in the world doing other things in order to energize that contemplative time I have. It’s not that I write about that outer world so much as it gives me this other ground to spring from.

Kibbe: In the writing process, are you looking for what Denise Levertov called the organic form of a poem? Do you see yourself as a transmitter of the poem or are you very much involved in the poem as it’s created? Do you try to stay out of the poem’s way, in a sense, or are you more interested in engaging the author, reader, and poem into an interactive group-like setting?
Ransom: Those are interesting questions. I do think that something ineffable and strange that we can never scientifically explain happens when we write a good poem. Writing a bad poem. . . , I could scientifically explain that. But I will say that there’s this: In a sense, of course, I’m always other than the poem and don’t control it. I have to follow it. But in another sense, I have to have some emotional investment in the poem even if it’s a seemingly intellectual poem about some abstract idea. The poem has to mean something to me personally, and the exploration of the poem, the discovery process, has to be very personal to me. There are many reasons why I could not write the Odyssey, but I particularly couldn’t write a long narrative poem that didn’t mean something personal to me.

Kibbe: Do you relate differently when you’re writing fiction? Do you have to have the same level of emotional involvement while writing fiction as you do while writing poems?
Ransom: Maybe that’s how I’ve split my writing skills, that if I were to write a narrative not about me, I would probably choose fiction. Poetry is more about wrenching out my own gut, and sorting through it for my own pleasure. One of the exciting things about punning is how the poem will run away with itself and you have to try to stay on and ride the horse. The poem becomes other, while at the same time you can’t totally lose control or the horse just runs off without you. I haven’t done fiction in a while, but I did just finish revising a screenplay so I’ll throw that in with the fiction.

Kibbe: What’s the name of it?
Ransom: It's called Kitty Bang. One of the interesting things about writing a screenplay was learning about plot. I had no idea what plot was when I wrote my first novel. I really didn’t. I had no idea what it consisted of, how it worked. I’d never studied it. I never even learned about it in high school. People said, well your first novel is episodic, and I had no idea what they were talking about because I had no idea what plot was. When I decided to write this screenplay, I had to learn what plot was, so I went back and read my Aristotle and all that stuff, and found it all very interesting. In approaching the screenplay, I was certainly conscious that each of these tools would be necessary to the success of the screenplay. I couldn’t just throw out character or throw out rising action. When I go back to writing another screenplay, or my next novel, I will remain very conscious of those things, and it won’t be a hindrance, but kind of a fun thing to adhere to. When I’m writing a poem I don’t feel that it has to stick to any particular form. I’m a formalist but not that sort of formalist. I’m not attracted to writing sonnets although I admire people who write them. A poem sort of dictates its own form, and it’s exciting for me to see how it’s going to turn out. Is it going to have little tiny short lines all the way down the page? Is it going to be a prose poem? What’s it going to be? I have no idea, and there are so many different forms that can work. I sort of let the emotion and the structure of the poem determine itself as it’s coming into being.

Kibbe: Have you developed any unusual habits that relate to your writing projects?. . .
Ransom: That’s funny. . .

Kibbe: In the way that William Faulkner wrote plots on his walls. Do you have any tics or habits that have become a part of a ritual that helps you in your process?
Ransom: I’ve had a compulsive habit now for many years of cutting my hair. I find that it particularly happens when I’m writing, that after a couple of hours of writing, and if I’m still going to keep on writing, I will often, as sort of a meditative break, wander into the bathroom, pick up the scissors and start trimming my hair. I would always like my hair to be a little bit longer than it is, but I start writing and...

Kibbe: You said the kind of poetry you were drawn to changed from when you were writing your first book to your second. Did your creative process change at all in the types of writing you were doing?
Ransom: It’s changing all the time. I don’t feel like I’m settled, in a sense, and I really envy those writers who are, and I’ll tell you why I say this. I spent many years trying to write a second novel. I wrote many hundreds of pages of one manuscript, threw it out, wrote many hundreds of pages of another, and threw it out. During that time I was very disciplined about putting in so many hours a day because I thought that’s the way writers should live. Once I’d confronted the fact that this was not working, it put everything into question for me as to how I, as a writer, should live. That’s one reason I’ve decided there’s too much pressure on my writing, coming from me obviously, but given that I am me, and can’t seem to change that overnight, I’ve been looking for other ways to take off that pressure. I’m writing some poetry now, but I find that the poetry is easier to do in a scattered way. Poetry is something I can come to and go away from. The fiction demands a little bit more of a routine. Right now I don’t have that routine. I don’t know what it’ll be.

Kibbe: Do you know immediately whether or not something is good?
Ransom: No, but I often have a feeling of excitement about a piece of writing, and that’s something that I’m learning to trust. One of the hard things after writing a novel that I really like, and it’s traumatic to be published in some ways, is that I wanted to write something else I really liked. The problem is I forget how awful the novel was at the beginning because for me it felt good all the way through. Its only when I go back through and look at the rough drafts that I think, O my god, how could I have thought that was going to go anywhere, and yet it did. If I have an initial excitement about something. It’s fine if it’s bad as long as that excitement is there. Maybe that’s sort of the organic thing, trusting the life of the work itself to take me there.
There’s one poem I’ve been working on for a couple of years. It was just horrible initially. I remember I read it, and I was very excited about it all along, and I think that’s correct, just hope you live long enough to get it right. Anyway, I read this poem in New York and I made some joke before the reading the way everybody does and afterwards, Chris Stroffolino said to me “I really liked your banter.” I said, “That’s great. Did you like the poem?” And he kind of thought about it and he said, “I really liked your banter.” And later I realized that he was right. The poem wasn’t there yet at all. But I continued to love the poem, and I still don’t know if it’s almost done or if it’s going to be a few more years yet.
If you feel excited about something, go with that and don’t worry about how bad it is for the time being. It’s not humiliating to write something that’s not working yet, and the wrong mistake to make is to feel that it has to be good from the beginning and that you have to be in control of it. Certainly that’s the mistake I’ve made in the attempts to write second novels. I stayed so anxiously on top of the work, and was rewriting paragraphs and sentences from page one so that there might be great sentences and beautiful paragraphs but no real life in it, no real process of discovery for me so why should there be for the reader?

Kibbe: You said it’s a traumatic experience to be published? Have you had the desire or need to be published? Is that where the trauma comes from?
Ransom: Early on everyone wants to be published, and certainly I wanted to, but publishing my first book of poetry was traumatic. It made certain relationships with certain friends awkward in small ways, but I can be oversensitive to that. Naturally, if you’re all at the same level and then somebody moves a little bit ahead, everybody’s going to catch up or most people will, but meanwhile you’ve formed this comradery around the fact that you’re all at one level and struggling and the world’s unfair and suddenly you’re one of the lucky ones. I found that very awkward in terms of friendships. When my novel was published, I had this naive expectation. I really loved the book, so I thought: Everybody will love the book. It didn’t turn out that way. I got some really hostile reviews. Not all, but one said, “. . . Well the granddaughter of John Crowe Ransom thinks she has to act out in New York and then tell us all about it,”. . . which was utterly unfair because it actually is a novel. I didn’t do the things in the novel. People would give me a hard time about creating this mother character, but they would always all assume that the novel was purely autobiographical. So I would have people say to me, “Was your mother really so terrible?” in this way that was very accusatory, and “How could you be so awful?” In a way it’s flattering because I guess I created this character that’s very real. Ultimately the thrill of giving readings and being published just became replaced by this weird sort of invasion of my privacy that wasn’t even based on understanding my actual privacy. People felt they had the goods on me, and they felt entitled to personally attack me.

Kibbe: While all three of the books vary in tone a great deal, they all seem to embody a mental state that I think most people would attribute, at least in part, to discomfort. Are you purposefully placing your characters and/or lyric speakers, and arguably your readers as well, into the uncomfortable realm of being both criminal and victim?
Ransom: It’s intentional in that I’ve honestly spoken from, if not my literal experience, at least my emotional and intellectual experience. It’s funny because you talk about the reader’s reaction. I’m one of those people who find it comforting and validating to read something that conveys someone else’s conflict and suffering. It’s not that I’m trying to make the reader suffer. I’m trying to convey a certain experience honestly, and hopefully some readers will enjoy it. Perhaps because it expresses something that they’ve experienced, but have not been able to articulate it, or perhaps because it gives them some insight into someone unlike themselves. I don’t feel I can control the reader, and I wouldn’t try. One of my favorite writers is Thomas Bernhard, a fiction writer and playwright from Austria who died in 1989. He’s relentlessly pessimistic. Almost every book is about Shall this character kill himself.... or not, and I just love reading him. It cheers me up so much. It’s all about this inner angst and dialogue. People have accused him of having no plot because it’s mostly internal conflict. I think there’s plenty of plot because you can have an internal plot, and to read about that internal conflict is always a joyful validating experience. All I can do is try to create something out of the material I have, to create something that gives me joy. I know that whenever I write something that I feel is good, it is always a transformative experience because the discomfort, that I have experienced personally, whether or not the details are specific, that discomfort is turned into something beautiful, and that is a total thrill.

Kibbe: So that writing becomes a validation similar to reading Thomas Bernhard?
Ransom: It’s like alchemy. Here I seem to be this strange person that suffers, needlessly sometimes; a stupid cocktail party, which somebody else might feel is just fun, could be quite anxiety provoking for me, and I might spend the whole time thinking strange thoughts to myself, being oversensitive to this or being claustrophobic about that or paranoid about the other. I’m not always, but I might have the experience, and it seems so needless, but if I can take that and turn it into something entertaining, because I do think most, if not all, art should be entertaining, that’s great. It is the same sort of transformation as reading someone else who does that. It means, okay, all this wasn’t just a waste.
Kibbe: And in that way does it become both entertaining as well as educational for the reader, or is it not important that your reader learn something?
Ransom: I’m not religious in any sort of institutionalized way, but since I’ve been reading Shakespeare, I’ve had the thought that many others have had I’m sure. I’ve thought: I can learn a lot more form reading and studying Shakespeare than I personally could learn from reading and studying the Bible. Well, does that mean I’m making literature into a religion, and is that the role I think it should have? I’m very wary of that. After 9/11 there was some article interviewing writers asking them how they saw the role of their writing. Some of the people had very high idealist roles. I don’t remember exactly who, but some of them deserved them. But I have great respect for Stephen King, who said his writing played no serious social role whatsoever. “I write what I write. People are entertained. I’m not doing anything besides that.” I really admired his humility. And I think in a sense it’s up to the reader. I don’t set out to educate exactly, but if it happens that someone feels wiser after reading my work, that’s great. I would be afraid to set out to make someone wiser because that’s fraught with all kinds of dangers, of being bigger than yourself. For that to happen you can’t feel that you have something to teach the world. It’s more that you have something to learn from the work. If you set out to prove something, well you’re going to kill it.

Kibbe: Going back to the topic of discomfort. In Scene of the Crime your use of rhythm, nursery rhymes, and puns seems to render a serious analysis of social and sexual taboos through so-called dark humor. I’m curious how you find both humor and cruelty of the human experience to be beneficial in a piece of writing.
Ransom: I think violence and cruelty are a part of human nature. I think it’s obvious. We have never stopped waging war on one another. We have never stopped torturing one another.

Kibbe: On both a global level and an individual level?
Ransom: I meant on a global level. I do think individuals can make choices to try to avoid that, although at the same time the best intentioned people can often hurt each other terribly. I try to be conscious of my own darkness because I feel that we all have it and I feel it does more danger personally and in the world when it’s not recognized, when it’s just denied. That is why I like literature that contains some of that darkness, literature that doesn’t sugar coat the human condition. I also think humor, as any comedian can tell you, springs from darkness. Most humor is driven by rage, but it can also be driven by melancholy. I don’t think it’s driven by hatred but I do think it’s driven by what we call negative emotions. The best humor, meaning not cheap racist humor, does perform a kind of alchemy; it turns the tragedy of the human condition into something laughable. I also find it exciting in an intellectual way. I like reading a poem that’s witty. I like it for no particularly ideological or moral reason but simply because it gives me this experience of emotional, intellectual, and aesthetic excitement.

Kibbe: Do you think that part of the excitement that comes from humor, wit, and puns is also an element of learning something new about a word, a world, maybe a fault in the makeup of our language?
Ransom: Yeah, a fault as in an opening, you mean, not as in something wrong with it.

Kibbe: Yeah, . . .
Ransom: And also a fault within the makeup of ourselves. We all want to know ourselves, but we’re also in this constant process of masking ourselves from ourselves, and the more contemplative and introspective we are, the better we get at masking. So we have to bring out stronger machinery in order to see beyond ourselves, see around ourselves, get to something new. I think humor and wit often go there and are effective tools in self discovery.

Kibbe: Do you feel that the current literary cannon excludes humor from its selection?
Ransom: I’ve talked before in an overly reductive and simplified way about the divide in the poetry world between narrative and non-narrative. In fact, there are a zillion more factions than that, but if we stick to that divide: a sort of narrative mainstream and non-narrative avant-garde- although that term is questionable since it’s been going on for more than a century-, I do think that in the mainstream there is less humor and often a feeling that too much humor is somehow not as profound as a more serious tone. On the other hand, in the so-called non-narrative realm, sometimes humor is almost obligatory, and poetry readings can often be a series of one-liners. Jeffery McDaniels is a great poet who is also great at one-liners. He’s not cheap. His one-liners are really good but that style, that one-liner, one-liner, one-liner sort of epitomizes the non-narrative poetry world. In that world there is this embracing of humor, maybe too much if it leads to the exclusion of other stuff. In the mainstream, there’s a of fear of humor being too silly, that comedy is not as profound as tragedy, which is absurd and just a fear of play and chaos.

Kibbe: Do you see your writing as a response or as a progression from any feminist movements or writings?
Ransom: My second book was obviously concerned with certain feminist issues, but also contains a lot of hostility towards feminism, as you might have picked up. That comes more out of a personal experience. My mother, in the last ten years of her life, was a feminist lesbian and this created many issues for me, her particular brand of feminism. I’ve long been in the position of calling myself a feminist but being very leery of dogmatism, a certain kind of self-serving, self-righteous, and valorizing of the female just because it’s female. While I was writing that book I was reading a lot of literary theory and trying out how all these theories were working. I find myself still in touch with the fact that I’m female and that I have a certain experience as well as certain issues of authority; it’s harder for me to claim poetic authority, I think, as a female. But I don’t find myself struggling with feminisms at this point.

Kibbe Have you ever had an encounter with someone who was displeased with Scene of the Crime because of its antagonistic approach to elements of feminism?
Ransom: No. I can imagine that there would be people who had problems with it in the same way that in Bye Bye, people objected to my being hard on the mother as if that were some kind of betrayal. . .

Kibbe: and not a fiction?
Ransom: Yeah, and not a fiction, but perhaps also a wrong to create an evil mother figure. So I haven’t, but it’s possible that somebody wouldn’t tell me. It’s also not a big famous book that’s gotten lots of critical attention.

Kibbe: Do you have any new books that are coming out?
Ransom: I don’t. I have these failed books I’ve thrown away. I have a poetry manuscript, which is not complete. It’s going very slowly, but I have a handful of poems that I like and I’m excited about because frankly for a while I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to write anything again that I liked. I got so fed up with my own writing. I like that when I’m writing now, I’ve recovered the old excitement about it, and I am looking forward to the manuscript gelling into an entire manuscript. I also have these fantasies of designing the book myself. Here’s the strange thing about Scene of the Crime. The publisher used that awful font that’s totally unreadable. I was so upset by that.

Kibbe: You didn’t have control over the font that was used?
Ransom: No, and I didn’t see it until it was printed. I burst into tears when I saw the book because that font is a terrible choice. Now that I know more about typography, I know that it’s really inexcusable. To use a display typeface for text is just wrong. Even at the time, it signaled a kind of disassociation of the publisher with the book. The publisher had liked the book, but some of the people on the staff had said: Is this poetry? They really had their doubts so putting it in this silly font was sort of a way of saying: This isn’t one of our serious books. That was also traumatic for me. So I have this fantasy of designing my next poetry book, and I know this sounds strange, especially to someone young like yourself who’s looking forward to being published as you should, but really I just have this fantasy of designing this beautiful book and I hardly even care how it would sell. In my fantasy, I could even self-publish it, if it were good. In my fantasy I like the work, which would be the biggest thrill especially after having a couple of years of writing stuff that I really didn’t like. I hope that never happens to you. I want to like the book as an object and then however many get out there, fine. But I would feel that I made this beautiful thing, and that would be enough.

Kibbe: What advice would you give to writers attempting to utilize humor as a way of reinventing/revitalizing the literary community?
Ransom: First, I’d tell them never to use the word utilize.

Kibbe: Excellent.
Ransom: Because it doesn’t mean anything more than use, and I find it stuffy and bureaucratic.

Kibbe: Which isn’t funny at all.
Ransom: I do think it’s time for a re-invention. We’re post-post modern now, but I don’t see anything going on that can be defined that way. We’re still heavily into a lot of what’s called post-modern. There’s nothing wrong with post modernism. But generally, each century, at the turn of the century, something new starts to happen. We’ve had several decades of post modernism and I think it is time for something new. Maybe it’ll be some sort of hybrid. That sounds post modern, but what I mean is a hybrid that re-embraces narrative. There is nothing wrong with narrative. Go read Shakespeare for God’s sake. But maybe at the same time takes humor more seriously. I’m a little hesitant to say that because there are a lot of people out there who use humor really well, but I would say that humor could be a profound tool to excavate some really serious stuff, and I would be very excited to read poets using it that way.




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