The new issue of Ping-Pong & the cover is pumpkin soup!
In the new issue of Ping-Pong there is a 20-page conversation between Alice Notley, Maria Garcia Teutsch & I which took place in a cafe in Paris earlier this year. In person I would describe Notley exactly as I experience her on the page: utterly beautiful and in touch with a great otherness.
Below is a mini-excerpt.
With The Descent of Alette at what point in the process did you figure out the form it would take with the quotations and the breaths? Did that come early or late in the process?
That came early. At the point where I got the form, I could write it.
Did you write the first piece first?
No, I wrote it last. I wrote the first two last. I didn’t have a beginning for two years and then at the end I had a beginning. It sounds a little tiny bit different from the rest of the poem, but not very much.
It contains almost the whole book within it.
Yeah, I think it’s a very epic-like beginning. I give you an entrée that is also kind of a synopsis. But it’s very terse.
It teaches you how you’re going to read the book and also has information in it but at the same time it’s beautifully lyrical. All of those elements are perfectly balanced.
So you always knew you were going to use the quotations?
Yes, because I had already done them in a couple of poems. I had used them before for “A Choral Effect.” Right away I realized The Descent of Alette was going to have a first person singular. And I was going to have a unified voice, not choral. But it suggests choral. But it’s not choral, the way those two poems from “Beginning with a Stain” are. And also “White Phosphorus,” which is a mixture of voices.