Jocelyn Saidenberg

Jocelyn Saidenberg and Eric Sneathen

A conversation

Photo of Jocelyn Saidenberg (left) by Kari Orvik; photo of Eric Sneathen (right) by Matt Sussman.

Note: Jocelyn Saidenberg’s most recent poetry collection Kith & Kin (The Elephants, 2018) tracks the author’s yearlong attempt to surface those deemphasized aspects of language and living. What has been paraphrased, forgotten, or disappeared from the everyday returns in Saidenberg’s poetry, which mixes together the little deaths of houseplants with a politics of refusal (however fleeting) and an enduring grief for a friend.

On textual cohabiting

Jocelyn Saidenberg's 'Dead Letter' and Brandon Brown's 'Top Forty'

What are the ethics of citation? Don’t all poems enter into the cacophony and babble of “the great conversation,” or to mix metaphors, that river of text, of jetsam and flotsam we all swim in and against? Still, to take up a gentle anachronism, we might ask, who sits at the table, and what is the etiquette of the host? How do you turn to your citation-guests? What do you offer? Two recent books, very different in subject matter and affect, take up this question — as both are explicitly addressed to other work(s) of art, inviting them, as it were, to the table.

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