Friday, August 28, 2009

THE POETRY CHAIN GANG (part 13 w/ Leigh Anne Couch)

The Black Telephone has five fast questions for poet Leigh Anne Couch.

BT: What triggered your interest in poetry?

LEIGH ANNE: My inability to write a lucid essay in college and falling in love with an artist. Since there was no way I could paint, I tried to fake it with words, so we'd have dreamy things to talk about. When he left, I didn't want to fake it anymore and decided to read what living poets were writing. That was exciting to me and as humbling as it was, I wanted to try to be a part of that community.

BT: Is there a topic you haven't covered in your poetry that you would like to cover?

LEIGH ANNE: Mother-love, both ways. I can hear the deep sighs out there and I feel it, too. Poems about mothering are set-ups for sentimentality and kitsch. But raising a person from complete dependency to their successful abandonment of you is such a powerful thing and, handled in the right way, has deep roots in the body, the culture, the society, and of course the self.

BT: What poetry book are you currently reading?

LEIGH ANNE: I'm currently reading a fabulous manuscript of poems by April Naoko Heck. It's her first book and it's called "Shelter of Leaves." I've read it three times now just trying to figure out why and how it works the way it does for me.

BT: Is there a poetry book on your bookshelf that you think is a "must have" for poetry lovers?

LEIGH ANNE: This question, as simple as it is, is really giving me fits. I can't name just one. I have really enjoyed seeking out first books by poets I love— I'm going with "Summer Anniversaries" (Donald Justice), "Lies" (C.K. Williams), and "Colossus" (Sylvia Plath). In addition, anyone who loves poetry because it makes them feel weird must read "The Orchard" by Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

BT: I'm trying to start a chain, a chain of poets, sort of like a chain gang of poets. Can you please suggest a poet I should ask five fast questions to next?

LEIGH ANNE: Cecily Parks

Leigh Anne Couch lives in Tennessee and is the managing editor of the Sewanee Review. Her poems have appeared in the Western Humanities Review, Shenandoah, 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, Carolina Quarterly, and other journals. Her book, Houses Fly Away (2007), was the co-winner of the Zone 3 Press First Book Award.