The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Gabrielle Calvocoressi:

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club chats with Gabrielle Calvocoressi about her new collection Rocket Fantasticthe fluid nature of gender, and the reader as collaborator with the text . . . This Rumpus Book Club interview was edited by Brian Spears.


Brian S: Talk to me about this choice to use a symbol to represent the Bandleader. You write about it in your introduction, but I’m curious about how the idea evolved over time and affected the book.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi: Well, you know this book took me almost a decade to write. I’d started some of the poems before Apocalyptic Swing came out. When I first started working on it I had a whole sort of story in mind, personae, an arc… basically the recipe for a disaster.

Eve Linn: Could you comment on how you conceived of this as a narrative?

Gabrielle Calvocoressi: And then in 2012 I had the tremendous fortune of getting to go to Marfa, TX for a Lannan Fellowship where I got to sit in this house that just looked out at this giant sky.

Sarah Fowler: Building off of the Bandleader question—I am wondering when the use/manipulation of breath came in to play? Was it always a part of the equation with that character?

Gabrielle Calvocoressi: I was in Marfa and what I realized was the book was so locked down and not at all what I had wanted or hoped for. I realized I’d started to use this strategy of persona to notwork into the deeper issues of power and voice and the vessel of the body that I’d been working with and struggling with in my own life.

. . . continue reading here.

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