portion of the artwork for Adam Day's poetry

Adam Day’s Comments

Rather than say something about each individual poem, I’ll simply say a bit about my way of thinking about writing, in general. I tend to be less taken with more linear, narrative poetry, concerned with catharsis, revelation, the natural world, or the domestic space. But then, of course, I immediately think of a writer like the contemporary Swedish poet Aase Berg who writes about the natural world with a sense of violence and grit, and I find her work is fantastic. And, a poet who writes a very concrete, narrative, linear poem about the domestic space, whose work is wonderful, is Philip White. So, of course there are always exceptions.

I’m really turned off by “lesson teaching” and sentimentality. I suppose most people are turned off by sentimentality, and yet I seem to see it very often, particularly in writers from the area of the country in which I find myself. I don’t tend to be a fan of regionalism, either. And I’m very bothered by poems in which “weird” things are always happening to no apparent effect; I think of this as “soft-surrealism”—a kind of surrealism or strangeness emptied of substance; a kind of stunt.

Alternatively, I tend to be drawn to poetry that challenges in some way, that is urgent without being false or preachy, that is gritty, that is concerned with something beyond the “I,“ with politics, society, culture, ideas, etc., without being polemical or pedantic. Laura Sims, Catherine Wagner, Fred Moten, Monica Youn, Dan Chiasson, Sabrina Orah Mark, Julia Story, Oppen, Ashbery, and others really engage me.

I don’t tend to write if I’m not consuming film or writing. Though, I rarely write in reaction to poetry. It’s usually fiction, nonfiction, or film that gets me writing. Contemporary and late-modern literary prose (much of it in translation) is massively important to my writing and thinking, including Jakov Lind, Samuel Beckett, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Flann O’Brien, Georgi Gospodinov, Mercè Rodoreda, Mikhail Bulgakov, etc. Open Letter, Dalkey Archive, New Directions, New York Review of Books Press, Yale University Press, Archipelago Books, and Melville House are some very good presses for modern and contemporary fiction in translation.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 47 | Spring 2016