Your second book of poems, A Several World, received the 2014 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award. But you’re currently focusing on prose, and a book of essays, Onesheets, forthcoming from Nightboat Books. Could you talk about Onesheets?
So “onesheets” are single-subject essays that take no recourse in authoritative sources— I think through the topic at hand and report on what it is I know or estimate or remember or misremember about it. And about each subject I begin with some notion that there’s some hot territory in it for me, some dicey personal territory. So even if I may not quite know what that is, I trust that the process, in these 2,000-word essays, (3,000 tops), I arrive at this rather naked place and report from there. Some of them very much need a loincloth.
The subjects are all over the place—miscellany is part of the project and hopefully part of the joy of it—they’re about foot washing, Br’er Rabbit, the locus amoenus in the pastoral tradition, tumbleweed, house sitting, the Leave in billiards. But yes—I’m the single source of the essays, which feels like it connects with the oldest traditions of essaying, a kind of radical empiricism that’s not about getting it right, and that performs thinking on the spot.
Read the rest of the interview at the Program Website.