Interview with Luisa A. Igloria at Speaking of Marvels

October 13, 2015 0 Comments Interviews 1493 Views

This post, an excerpt from an interview with our first eChapbook prize winner, originally appeared at Speaking of Marvels: interviews about chapbooks, novellas, and other shorter forms. Visit their website to read the full interview.


By speakingofmarvels on October 2, 2015

5.1 (1)Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press, 2015)

What’s your chapbook about?

The things that demand our attention are varied. Some may seem larger or more momentous, but when we step back to view them against a larger context, they can look and feel different.

Beth McDermott wrote an introduction to the chapbook. In it, she says some things approximating my own interest in certain themes: trying to live in a world that’s transforming rapidly in so many ways (for instance, think climate change, the perilous sense of impending apocalypse, the erosion of certain aspects of vital connection as well as the development of new forms of art, science, and material culture).

It’s possible to say perhaps that one of the chapbook’s main subjects is the relationship between time and scale— that is, our sense or perception of how things are bigger or smaller, or more or less relevant, than they are.

Poetry offers and cultivates a different kind of attention which I believe is helpful as we try to figure out how to carry the sense of our own mortality in the day to day.

Can you name one poem that catalyzed or inspired the rest of the chapbook? What do you remember about writing it?

For this question, I think I’ll talk about the poem whose last two lines I reworked for use as the chapbook title—this is the poem “From tree to tree” (on page 11 of the collection). By itself, the poem did not necessarily catalyze or inspire the rest of the chapbook. It’s a small, compact poem, only 8 lines. The most important effect I wanted to achieve was the creation of a movement and reciprocality between and among the handful of images I used.

In the first two lines I wanted to quickly establish the idea that it isn’t only us leaving marks of ourselves on the surfaces we see or touch—we are marked by experience too. I once had throw pillow covers, made in India, with little mirrors, pieces of glass, stitched on the fabric—the final line of the poem gives this image.

I am always amazed by where that kind of drive and desire come from— think of the extravagance it signifies, to take such pieces of broken glass, back them with silvery paint, drill tiny holes so they can be applied to a piece of cloth with needle and embroidery thread. To make a surplus out of “nothing.” To take remainders, those otherwise useless bits, and make of them another artifact, a different kind of moment to behold.

[…Read more at Speaking of Marvels…]

About the Author

Originally from Baguio City, Luisa A. Igloria  is the author of the eChapbook Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (2015); Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize, Utah State University Press); Night Willow (2014); and 11 other books. From 2009-2015, she directed the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, where she is on the poetry faculty. Since November 20, 2010, she has been writing (at least) a poem a day.

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