S71 Contributor Interviews: Kevin McLellan  

photoWhat is it about the genre or cross-genre you write in that interests you/draws you in?

I am turned on by enjambment and consequently the subtext it creates (especially when the subtext challenges the meaning of its respective sentences) and poetic forms that allow for multiple readings and/or different experiences with reading.

How does this published piece fit in with the larger thematic concerns that you see in your overall work?

These quadratic experiments (“Terra Cotta” and  “Without Curtains”) address the condition of not being considered (seen/heard/understood), a perpetual trigger that I find myself up against, yet the form insists on finding meaning through separation.

What are you influenced by? 

Collage.

Films directed by Terrance Mallick

Revision.

The notion of _______.

Time.

My parents.

Nature.

Anything composed by Bach.

Revision.

My own pain.

Kindness.

What does your typical writing schedule look like? What aspects of working do you look forward to? What aspects frustrate you?

I tend to write new poems when we ((my brain and me)) have open space, which usually means weekend days, yet phrases, lines, and ideas often arrive when I’m sleeping or walking or biking, and those are eventually recorded for future use.

I find the process of revising poems more meditative than any other activity, including meditation itself, so I try to practice every day.

I get overwhelmed by determining the order of poems for a manuscript (all the possibilities!), a process that continues until each poem interacts enough with the adjacent ones, and this (eventual) chain of poems becomes an attentive audience…

For fun, if you could pick one meal that matches the piece we published, what would it be and why?

I’ll answer the first part of this question. “Terra Cotta” would be a mushroom burger with seaweed salad dressed with lemon and “Without Curtains” would be water.

KEVIN MCLELLAN—author of Hemispheres (Fact-Simile Editions, forthcoming), [box] (Letter [r] Press, 2016), Tributary (Barrow Street, 2015), and Round Trip (Seven Kitchens, 2010) and winner of the 2015 Third Coast Poetry Prize and Gival Press’ 2016 Oscar Wilde Award— lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he’s recording & collecting moving images.

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