Like I said, this is a year of favourites and going for it...
I've been addicted to the work of Dani West from the moment I was introduced to it. I wrote a review of her poetry months back when I was in review mode. And her lines still adhere to my mind "I'm a slut to magic..." I mean who writes like that? Dani's book HEAD is no different -- it's so lush and so deserving of praise one that should definately be read. And, I say this without a doubt in my mind as when you get your hands on a copy -- you'll see my little blurb on the back. Yes, it's that good. Please follow Dani via social media on Instagram @b.dani_west. It'll be the best thing you do for yourself today. Because I know when it comes to exceptional poetry I have flawless taste in distinguishing special and ingenious poets.
DW: When I was a kid I used to carry around a little black notebook and write notes about people, like in that movie Harriett the Spy (which my father took me to see and then fell asleep in the theater. I still laugh at that--he ALWAYS fell asleep in theaters). I'd write about their habits, why I thought they did them, if they were sad I'd write about why they might be sad. Many times, I'd just write about what I understand now as sociology. I was a really advanced but weird and quiet kid (unless I really knew you, then I was loud, obnoxious and obsessed with kicking).
RMMW: What does poetry mean to you?
DW: It means to feel and then let go.
RMMWHow do you feel about contemporary poetry?
DW: As in poets from the last century? Purely wonderful.
Just don't "she poem" me. Unless you're going to shoot me first. Then you can "she poem" my corpse.
RMMW: Who are you reading now?
DW: The Essential Rumi.
RMMW: As a writer, do you feel that reading is essential to the writing process?
DW: One hundred times YES.
RMMW: As you know, I simply adore your book HEAD what was the inspiration behind it?
DW: Thank you! The title has a triple meaning: HEAD as in, to get into one's head. Also, I'm related to Joaquin Murrieta, (when I got married my ex-husband's last name was West, but it's such a dope last name that I kept it. I've thought about changing it back or hyphenating it). Joaquin was "supposedly" beheaded as per requested in his WANTED sign. Thus there are several native poems in there. Lastly, I just thought it'd be really, really funny if people thought I wrote a book on oral sex.
RMMW: How much research did you have to do, to properly organize the chapters so that each poem specifically coordinated with characteristics from certain sections of the human brain? (been dying to ask you this for such a long time, I mean that is brilliant)
DW: None. (But thank you!) I took several semesters of biological psychology and cognition etc. in undergrad. I think that how parts of the brain correlate to actions is super interesting. *nerding out over here*
RMMW: Do you have a favorite poem from HEAD that you would like to share or even an excerpt?
DW: I do, the last poem in the book is my favorite and I'd include it--buuuut I'd rather subject you all to this on-the-fly poem I wrote about chicken:
Man oh man, mama's chicken
fingerlickin'. Man oh man
In a buckey, and if you're lucky,
from Kentucky. Man oh man--
from the trashcan's
were she get em--
Botulism! Are we dead?.
RMMW: Do you have any artists rituals before starting a new piece?
DW: No. I start new pieces in the most random fashion possible. I'll write on trains, in bathrooms, on stairs, at appointments, literally wherever.
RMMW: We all must contend with out creative blocks; how do you deal with them?
DW: By reading other people's writing and not thinking about my damn self.
RMMW: My inner critic, I named her Tabitha does not sit silent she criticizes everything that I do. Do you have an inner critic that you’d like to see boiled in oil or at least temporarily silenced?
DW: LOL do you wanna see Tabitha boiled in oil?! That's awesome! I got the most horrific mental image right now-...why am I still laughing?
Anyways, yes. I notice that when I start writing for the approval of others my writing takes a hit. It's that invisible audience thing.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
DW: Time traveling capabilities. A purely selfish superpower. Like, I probably COULD use it to go back in time and save Newman the math professor from getting hit by a train but--knowing me I'd probably just sit there laughing.