1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.
2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?
3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?
1 – The poetic line for me is a balancing act between minimalism and substance. I can liken my lines to Giacometti sculptures – stretched long & thin – or often broken by the rhythm that leads me. There’s always music in my head as I write, and often there are visuals too, like photo stills or dream fragments, asking to be translated into the scheme of where the poem is going. I use all lower case, with spaces as punctuation, an aesthetic choice that helps in determining words that stand free and equal, and lines laid open to layers of meaning.
2 – As an avid swimmer, yogi and bicyclist, lots of direct “body information” floats up to the surface when I’m doing these activities. The importance of breath in my work is directly informed by how my body moves through water, how it opens into asanas, how it meshes with speed and time as I ride. Then there’s that craving I get when I watch musician friends play their instruments, or visual artist friends playing with paint, clay, cameras. I want some of that! So I always write longhand first, choose my journals and writing pads, and especially pens, like lovers. And when I start, I can see and feel how the ink touches the page, how the words, the lines start forming patterns. It’s something visceral, and if I’m lucky that’s when the magic happens.
3 – I dislike that poets are notorious as depressive (or worse), solitary and staring into their own navels. That’s why I ran away from the poetry scene and started collaborating with musicians! What a joy to gig together instead of competing for a paltry prize that might sell 17 more books. Personally, it’s more comfortable and rewarding to share ideas and expand horizons with projects like naked romance where John Rangel’s music gives flight to my words. I’ve been reading my poems with jazz (and klezmer) for over 15 years, and love the excitement of the two entities creatively bumping into each other, including improvisational riffs. Right now, John and I are playing with possibilities of going multi-media, adding painter Nicole Schmoelzer’s stunning color bled abstractions, and then some video. I’m over the moon…
salazar romance #2
later you’re pedaling
cruising through splendor
tail of your shirt unfurled
like the hem of fiesta
there’s a five-pointed star
a trailer for sale off salazar road
sparkle of sagebrush
some voice far away pitches harmony
while cactus keep whistling
but why don’t the prairie dogs bark
not specifically for you
just for the romance of it
trance of chance meeting
even a black bear or two turning trashcans
over this wilderness lazy with mountains
heaped at the outskirts you think
as you circle your bike
around measuring space
can’t back away from it
more than an eyeful now now
better not bawl at the beauty
undoing your heart
daylight already too fevered for that
– Davida Singer (naked romance and then some, Aldrich Press, 2015)
ABOUT THE UPCOMING PERFORMANCE:
Davida Singer will team up with award-winning Santa Fe composer/pianist John Rangel for the New Mexico premiere of Naked Romance at GiG Performance Space, Friday, July 10, 7:30 pm. This live performance features poetry from Singer’s latest book, which has been set to original music by Rangel, and explores the yearning for romance in an increasingly desensitized world. For this Santa Fe exclusive appearance, the performers will mix it up with Andy Zadrozny (bass) and Douglas Cardwell (drums). GiG Performance Space is located at 1808 Second Street in Santa Fe. The performance will be followed by a book signing. Tickets: $20 at door.
Davida Singer is a poet/performance artist, who has done numerous readings combining spoken word with jazz and klezmer at New York venues including The Kitchen, Zinc Bar, and Cornelia Street Café. She is the author of three collections of poetry, including Port of Call (Plain View Press, 2012), a finalist for the Audre Lorde Poetry Award, and, most recently, naked romance and then some (Aldrich Press, 2015). Singer is the recipient of four fellowships from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She was also a featured artist at the 2011 SOMOS Writers Series in Taos, and has published extensively in journals. Currently, Singer is teaching writing and literature at Hunter College and School of Visual Arts in Manhattan (www.davidasinger.com).