Interviews

Dots in the distance

A dialogue with Mark Francis Johnson

Photo of Michael Nardone (left) by Richmond Lam. Photo of Mark Francis Johnson (right) by Sarah DeGiorgis.

Note: Mark Francis Johnson’s work first absorbed me into its worlds at an event for Make Now Books in New York in 2015. He was there to launch his poet’s novel ​After Such Knowledge Park. His reading from the book was, as I remember it, immersive from its first moment. The narration begins in a shed of some kind, in a hinterland or interzone space, and inside the shed resides a recluse.

The longer short of it

An interview with Hiroaki Sato

Photo courtesy of Nancy Sato.

Note: In early 2020, Eve Luckring (writer and visual artist) and Scott Metz (poet and editor) began a lengthy email conversation with essayist and award-winning translator Hiroaki Sato. A New York City resident since moving to the US in 1968, Sato has translated more than thirty books of Japanese literature into English, authored several books on Japanese cultural history and poetry, and translated the likes of John Ashbery, Jerome Rothenberg, and Charles Reznikoff into the Japanese language.

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.

Afrizal Malna in conversation with Daniel Owen

Daniel Owen and Afrizal Malna, each holding onto a copy of Malna's book.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Owen.

Note: On Friday, September 7, 2019, Afrizal Malna and I met at the Warunk Upnormal in the Cikini area of Jakarta, not far from Afrizal’s home at the time and even closer to Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Center, a significant hub of creative activity in Jakarta where he’d spent much time over the years. Though we’d met for coffee and conversation a number of times in Cikini, this was the first time at Upnormal, and the first time our conversation was recorded.

Note: On Friday, September 7, 2019, Afrizal Malna and I met at the Warunk Upnormal in the Cikini area of Jakarta, not far from Afrizal’s home at the time and even closer to Taman Ismail Marzuki Arts Center, a significant hub of creative activity in Jakarta where he’d spent much time over the years. Though we’d met for coffee and conversation a number of times in Cikini, this was the first time at Upnormal, and the first time our conversation was recorded (and later transcribed and translated into English for the purposes of this feature).

The 'now what' question of music and poetics

Rodrigo Toscano with Clare Louise Harmon

Photo of Clare Harmon by Chloé Azzopardi. Photo of Rodrigo Toscano by Clare Welsh.

Note: I first met Rodrigo through a mutual friend at a gallery opening; I think I said something about being a classical musician, because, there, among the photographs, Rodrigo launched into a thick analysis of Frescobaldi and Couperin (the elder); I remember being completely shocked at the level of knowledge — something I hadn’t experienced since my days in graduate school. Maybe we talked about Ligeti’s Continuum (a favorite of mine), too.

Note: I first met Rodrigo through a mutual friend at a gallery opening; I think I said something about being a classical musician, because, there, among the photographs, Rodrigo launched into a thick analysis of Frescobaldi and Couperin (the elder); I remember being completely shocked at the level of knowledge — something I hadn’t experienced since my days in graduate school. Maybe we talked about Ligeti’s Continuum (a favorite of mine), too.