Saturday, November 24, 2012

California Journal of Poetics Interview!

I'm very excited about an interview with Brandon Lussier over at the California Journal of Poetics.


[ excerpt ]

In an interview with Irish radio station RTE, Carson discussed her appreciation for Stein, saying that Stein was a writer who understood that words have an impulse of their own and was willing to let words “do, be, go where they want to.” It seems like, based on what you just said, her approach to this project and the collaboration with you was similar. But I’m curious about the artwork that seems unrelated to Sophocles’ Antigone, as well as Carson’s translation. One piece, for example, includes a figure in a Star Trek uniform. Can you talk a little about your greatest leaps in inspiration—the ones that took you the furthest from the text of Antigonick into your own creative space? Clearly you let the images go where they wanted to. The surprising results are likely to make most readers smile in curiosity and wonder: why did the images want to go **there**?

It’s interesting because I didn’t feel that that one in particular made the farthest leap from Antigonick. For me, looking back, something more like the lone armchair ink drawing, seemed a better example of an image that hung outside the text. The line of figures you refer to was completely linked to the text; the feeling of being watched, or of the chorus overseeing everything. I think having a Star Trek insignia makes it slightly absurd. And it is! But it’s not without purpose. It’s just what Stein was talking about: letting images (just as words) go where they want. It’s about allowing imagination into your process. Letting imagination cross the border of what you want to convey to the reader—what is perhaps appropriate or literal—and the unknown, the enigmatic. That is what I am most interested in. I didn’t want to control the sacredness of the text within it’s own time, but rather interact with it tonally (if not emotionally) and imaginatively. In allowing flourishes of the contemporary to come, such as Star Trek, football players, etc., the story of Antigone is visually able to cross generations, supersede time, interact with the present and the past simultaneously. Which is what Anne Carson does so incredibly well in her work. I encourage readers to smile in curiosity! But also to surrender themselves to The Not Knowing. There’s a power in not asking what something means, the irony being that the question becomes relevant only once you stop asking it. And also perhaps, in some ways, answered.