Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #3

In round 3 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Tyler Meier, a poet whose "One Way to Fill Up a Sky" appeared in our latest issue. Tyler’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI Online, Bat City Review, Forklift, Ohio, jubilat, THERMOS, and Washington Square. He works as the managing editor of the Kenyon Review and co-directs the Kenyon Review Young Writers Program.

What are you reading right now?

Right now, I'm 100 pages in to Jonathan Franzen's Freedom (FSG). I really think the whole thing so far is both hilarious and chillingly dead-on, and if I didn't need sleep and wasn't latently attention-challenged, I might have been sucked into reading it straight through. Franzen knows how to make a moment that flips ironic and then earnest, ironic then earnest, depending on your vantage point, or how hard the moment was flung. They are like rogue coins ripping through the wishing well of your head. Aren't irony and earnestness mutually exclusive? (If one exists, doesn't it negate the other?) How does he get them to show up in the same spot so easily and so often?

I've also been re-reading Zach Savich's The Firestorm from Cleveland State University Press. (When I typed this, I typed Firestory, which it may also be?) It's so good: the last poem "The impossibility of sleeping alone" is worth the price of admission. These are poems about precision and imprecision, about mistakes-as-maker. And while they churn and wonder, they are also suddenly gorgeous: "Spend enough time looking at the beautiful and you may think you are too." That's right, isn't it?

What else have you been reading this summer?

I also read New Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel and translated by Mark Ford, from University of Princeton Press. It's a gem of parathetical twists, and worth getting tangled up in. If you are having boring dreams, this will help.

Ish Klein's Moving Day is in my bag and coming up soon--I'm excited for it.

We just published some new Alice Fulton poems in the Summer 11 issue of The Kenyon Review, and reading back through Cascade Experiment has been a gift. "What I Like" is a poem I want to memorize. My two year old had moved it on the bookshelf; it took a small rescuing to find it. But I'm also really happy that my two year old chose this book to put in a secret hiding place. Fulton is a touchstone; I'm really really excited for her next book.

Which upcoming book releases are you most looking forward to?

Andy Grace's new book Sancta is coming out from Ahsahta Press soon; I'm so excited for this book. I've been a sucker for Ondaatje for a long time, and liked the excerpt from The Cat's Table in the New Yorker, so I'll be excited to see his new novel in print in October from Knopf. Heather Christle's What is Amazing, her third book, will come out from Wesleyan in the near future, and I will find a copy.

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