3 Questions for Nate Maxson

1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

It’s changed over time but I think of a single line in a poem as being almost like a frame in a film, one motion on the way to a larger object. Or maybe a gear in a machine: each one has to be crafted so that it both stands on its own and so that it moves the entire thing forward. If it’s too concerned with the micro then you end up being too clever for your own good but if it strictly exists to serve the rest of the poem then it can probably be recycled into another line with minimal hurt.

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

That’s a difficult question for me because I don’t necessarily write poetry-of-the-body but there is a connection. I draw a distinction between the spirit and the body and the former features more into my writing than the latter. However when I write too much I get physically ill, fever and exhaustion which to some extent I tend to interpret in a somewhat romantic manner which is admittedly a little ridiculous. Maybe it’s the tension between the body and the spirit that makes poetry happen, like the Smiths lyric “does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?”

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

About being a poet? I like being a poet. It’s being a person that vexes me. I mean, I don’t like the non-place that poetry has in our society right now where all art gets compared to poetry but actual poetry gets left by the wayside. In that way, poetry existing is an act of resistance.

***

Nate Maxson is a writer and performance artist. The author of several collections of poetry, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 
The Distance

All the chimneys in this town are expelling their defiance
Constantly against the unmeasured winter
But there are no fireplaces down below
Such simplicities go against the contract
Only smoke here
Because to labor in oblivion/ is to birth an oblivion
Pure blue chemical tidal light: to labor with oblivion/ to burn a green candle
For a pure nothing, a hollow black pomegranate
We would give our meager light
How’s that for a hymn?
I’m new to this industry
But I’m quickly learning
That all original thoughts are reduced to sand and then to glass and then fertilizer
And so on and so on
What do we have left, when we sweep away the crumbs from the table?
 
This disintegration can be either a threat or a mercy
I leave it in your hands, my familiarity: a feather for your instrument
 
(Where have I heard it before?
Silver bird singing to young ears/ I should no longer be able to eavesdrop on such delicacies)
Where the distance backs into itself and each end of the uroboros thinks the other one is a ghost
Where the cold blooded and the shy congregate quietly for Sunday school
:
The dreamland archipelago 

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