Le paradis n'est pas artificiel …

August 28, 2008

Selections from a Medbh McGuckian Interview

I'm excited to finally be going to study in Belfast with this person. Interview by Heidi Lynn Staples of The Argoist Online. I think their repartee reads like the love child of a Language poem and Bazooka Joe comic.

HLS: What do you think of the category "woman poet" into which many people place you?

MM: Hate the term. Hate those two words together they are so unwomanly and unpoetic together they cancel each other out. "Poet" I don't like or "woman" or "man" none of these words although I have had to use them. "Female" not much better. "Poetess" actually I like the sound.


HLS: I've heard a bit about the escalation of violence of late there and am hoping that you haven't been directly affected.

MM: One always is directly affected but thank you it is quiet again just now...

HLS: Glad to hear you're all right. I apologize for my ignorance about the sort of suffering and struggle you endure.

MM: Look at what you people have endured!

HLS: I can think of many ways you mean that, but could you say more?

MM: Well I mean, just now, New Orleans, then Sept 11 back to the horrible civil war. So many from Vietnam and Korea. Your young sacrificed. How you all are tarred by the Iraq invasion. How hard it is to live freely in freedom.


HLS: What’s your writing process like? I'm wondering how often you write; under what circumstances; starting with a word, image or idea; with or without coffee, that sort of thing.

MM : My process. I don't see it as process. Sounds too recipe or technical. I want it or need it. Life gets disordered and choked with not saying to anyone as here only confusion words inadequate as tools of exploration. So, I clinically collect images, thoughts, ideas, series of words -- not single. Over a period. Then when I feel I have enough for a page of poetry. I sort them. I sift and shape. There is a dynamic between my state and the material. I have to be alone but not alone in the building. There are people, my family but not there. It takes an hour or so. Never any food or coffee. Usually night or sunrise if it is beautiful. A desk. A dictionary. For any odd words. It is all up to the dance and play of the words. I just fold them into sentences like puff pastry layers. It is fun. Sad too. The last poem I knew what I had to say but that is rare.

Posted by Delire at August 28, 2008 09:48 AM
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