When did you start writing poetry, and why?

When I realized I wanted to ride a white horse into the sun’s sweet cunt, and because I’d rather lie for a living than die for a cause.


Do you come from a long line of writers?

I was born to a peasant girl and motorcycle boy whose shellacked hair and Brando get-up enticed the ladies.

I was born twice, once like a bone emerging from a carcass, then like a musical note hanging from a shelf of scratched vinyl.


You are Armenian by blood, Lebanese by birth, American by citizenship. How do you identify yourself as a poet?

I undress for my country,
take my shoes off,
rip the underwire out of my bra.
I am lighter than Beirut,
tamer than Mt. Ararat.


We are starting to think you are eluding your own questions.

Well, that is how I learned to love.


Why do you think so many poets kill themselves?

For the same reason so many dolphins commit suicide. We are not meant to live in captivity.


Which poets are your influences?

If you look closely, you can see them:
one behind the armchair, two hiding under
the dining room table, arms entwined.
The one in the bathroom is stuck,
her body halfway out the door,
and the one in the kitchen keeps turning the faucet
on and off. The bedroom holds three
big ones, two on the bed,
one by the vanity painting her face.
On rare occasions, they sit on my lap,
nudge someone in the back of the neck
with their glorious heads.
One even tried to eat the geraniums
on the windowsill when nobody was looking.


How would you describe your poetry?

Needy, like a sky recovering from a dog-day in August
and the color of skin after a slap.
Some days, it wears pearls —
other days, black leather.


Do you have a book coming out soon?

No, I don’t.


Why not?

Here is a list of reasons:

#1 It’s a constant ballet between refusal and a gift horse.
#2 I have sunken deeper treasures in shallower waters.
#3 The cock-fight is more brutal when you’re the hen-pecked.
#4 Dark girls, like dark skies, are pregnant with buckets of cold truth.
#5 I have compulsions towards larceny, erudite women and telepathy.
#6 Under constitutional law, the anarchist must lay low.
#7 I must either take it all by the horns or be trampled under the hooves, but I want to eat the
#8 When I hit bottom, I fold my arms and sit inside my own blood soup.
#9 I am not history nor talisman.
#10 I am hanging my shoes from the telephone wires above the new world order.


Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank The Nervous Breakdown, specifically Uche Ogbuji, for this opportunity.


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ARMINE IKNADOSSIAN was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to Southern California when she was four years old. A resident of Pasadena, she received her undergraduate degree with an emphasis in creative writing from UCLA and earned a graduate degree in poetry from Antioch University. She teaches English, journalism, and poetry recitation and has received two fellowships from Idyllwild Arts. Publications include Alabama Literary Review, Backwards City Review, Margie, Pearl and Rhino. Her poetry manuscript Dogmata challenges the sacred feminine through persona poems and revisions of Biblical and Agnostic mythology.

2 responses to “Armine Iknadossian: The TNB Self-Interview”

  1. Khadija says:

    YEAH! Eastside LA Poets represent!

  2. Chrys Tobey says:

    Absolutely amazing! I expect nothing less from one of the best living poets.

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