photograph by Emily Raw

Here’s a way to start a self-interview. How are you not yourself?

How am I not myself? I’ve had to cut out dairy, I moved twice in a year, I’m trying to leave academia. I hardly recognize myself.

 

Who are the hunters?

At night I get these recurring dreams where I battle the spirit world for earthly life. But it’s also me, I’m the hunter. And the cat I used to live with.

 

Why did you take out the poem The New World from the collection?

Because I wrote it in 2015 and then 2016 happened. And even though the ending came to me a year later in the middle of the night I didn’t want to put it out there in the world, to use Columbus’s name like that, it felt like the satire and self-recrimination wouldn’t come across and I didn’t want to be ironic anymore.

 

So why did you write the poem another world?

Because in 2019 I realized the time of a poem isn’t linear, I think it exists suspended between possible futures. In 2015 I imagined myself packing and by 2019 I was already packed.

 

Is another world possible?

I think in another tongue it is.

 

Should the artist be held responsible for her art?

Firstly we have a responsibility to be ethical people. And then we have to be very mindful of the kind of thing we put out there. Like Adam Phillips says, “…if the art legitimates cruelty, I think the art is not worth having.” Throw it out.

 

Can we separate the art from the artist?

No. Throw it out.

 

Is there such a thing as objective journalism?

No. Throw it out.

 

Is there such a thing as ethical consumption?

No. Like Lauryn Hill says, “what you throw out comes back to you star.”

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Born in the Soviet Union, MARINA BLITSHTEYN and her family fled to the US in 1991 as refugees and settled in Buffalo, NY. She studied English at SUNY Buffalo, where she edited the longstanding annual Name poetry journal, and Creative Writing at Columbia University, where she also served as a University Writing Fellow and consultant. She is the author of Two Hunters, her first full-length collection, published by Argos Books in 2019 with a CLMP Face-Out grant. Prior chapbooks include Russian for Lovers (Argos Books), $kill$ (dancing girl press), Nothing Personal (Bone Bouquet Books), and most recently Sheet Music with Buffalo's own Sunnyoutside Press. Her work has been anthologized in the new Brooklyn Poets Anthology, The &Now Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing, Why I Am Not a Painter, My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry, Through Clenched Teeth, and Far Villages, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. Recent work can be found in Hyperallergic, Peach Mag, Boog City, No, Dear Magazine, and Sixth Finch. She teaches Composition and Rhetoric and experimental nonfiction, and occasionally runs The Loose Literary Canons, a feminist reading group in NYC.

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