Well, it’s not really an “interview” so much as a single question answered in 150 words. Poet Jacob Mooney started something at the Torontoist called the “Optimisms Project“, in which he asked young poets to riff on why they are, well, optimistic about the future of poetry. Unbeknownst to the readership, he also asked a few, as he then referred to us in all our disgusting, aged glory, “older” poets to participate as well. Erin Moure, yours truly, and Sina Queyras have all now done it, despite our better judgment. Mine is, initially, perhaps not as earnest as one might like, but what do you expect? I’m old. With Poetry Month coming to a close, I thought it was time to take a retrospective look. Turns out there are some smart kids out there.
I am optimistic about the future of poetry in the same way I am optimistic about the future of everything: futures exist, even if they’re right on top of our nows. If poetry exists in space and time, it is effectively immortal and will continue to thrive in at least one of our branching, bubbling, bouncing universes. If apathy, hatred, laziness, and infighting dull it in this one, a moment from now, or just a second ago, another will spring up in which it elects governments of kindly peers and turns nuclear weapons into small rabbits that smell like berry-scented shampoo.
In a more concrete sense, I have my own inner universe for poetry in which it’s totally safe, and is populated with my own constellations of thought, admiration, accomplishment, and desire. And that, in some sense, is more than enough for me. Applications to live here will not be read or vetted, but you’re still welcome.