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Chapbook Q & A with Patrick Lawler // Between Hoaxlessness and Hoax

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Chapbook Q&A with Patrick Lawler

What is poetry?

Poetry is a place made out of radiance and rags.


Why do you write it?

I write it so I will never have to say, “Poetry is a place made of radiance and rags.”  Actually, I don’t know how to get to the other side of it.  It is like an addiction to photosynthesis.  It is both an obstacle and a bridge.  Once I get to the other side I will not need to write poetry anymore.  I will write, “I am cured.”  And as soon I write it, some will claim I will have written another poem.  Thus, the endlessness.


What makes this a chapbook and not just a pile of poems?

At first, I worked with a mound of words—then with a heap of syllables—and finally with a pile of letters.  I came with a chisel and a stonemason’s hammer.  I wanted something so small it could fit between the thumb and forefinger.  I wanted something so small it could be picked up with an entomologist’s tweezers—something that could fly away before it became a specimen.


Are there any particular pronounced influences / guiding lights for the poems in this chapbook, or is it just the usual jumble & tangle (also, if so: what IS your usual jumble & tangle)?


I don’t know if I was more inspired by the Minotaur or the labyrinth, the stitches or the cut.  Regardless, I search for the light at the end of the wound.  So to speak.  Did I say poetry is a contraption for healing?  If I did, I want to amend it.  We live on a melting planet in a time of a meltdown government.  You see, I love the jumble and the tangle.  I believe I try to dance in the middle of it often—though my movements more closely resemble a kind of seductive stumbling between radiance and rags.


Contents | Chapbook Q & A with Ryan Bollenbach // In the House on the Cusp of Light »