Aaron Anstett: National Poetry Month
Author: Aaron Anstett
Do you feel you have matured as a poet?
The poems, I think, change with each book, and I like to think they’re becoming better, but that’s likely not mine to say. As I grow older, my faith in experiment and play has increased and my urge to Say Something Important has diminished.
What do you think you’re writing for?
For me, writing poems is an attempt to create something startling and musical and memorable. Poem by poem and book by book, I’m recording the failure of those attempts.
To drive sales, I should claim that reading this book halts the progression of baldness, answers all vexing questions, and provides the secrets to untold wealth, happier relationships, and easily achieved and permanent weight loss. Truthfully, though, I believe these to be among the strongest poems I’ve written, and I hope readers enjoy them. Also, from the proofs I’ve seen, the book will be a gorgeous object, and I cannot thank enough Jacob Smullyan, the press’s founder and editor, and Royce M. Becker, who designed the cover and endpapers.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
A few of the poems share the title, and at one stage I wanted to call every poem in the book “Moreover,” as if the collection were one long argument with each poem a point marshaled in furtherance of its cause. Moreover, calling the most recent book a word that means “in addition to” seems fitting.
Did you have a process for assembling the poems for this collection of poetry?
In terms of the order of the poems, with each collection I try to create echoes and resonances and counterpoint and dispute between the poems.
When did you start writing Moreover and when did you finish?
Most of the poems were written between my prior collection, Insofar as Heretofore, being accepted for publication, in 2013, and the very end of 2015.
What is your best experience related to poetry?
The best experience remains reading, whether for the first or the hundredth time, poets whose work amazes me.
Who or what are you currently reading?
I’m almost always reading a few writers and books concurrently. I’m leisurely enjoying Chekhov’s stories, dipping into Thoureau’s Journal, relishing Bishop’s The Complete Poems, devouring journals (currently The Laurel Review, The Literary Review, Cream City Review, Copper Nickel), and feeling gobsmacked by Nicky Beer’s The Octopus Game and Dan Beachy-Quick’s gentlessness.
What are you working on now?
I have a few poems toward a new manuscript, and recently I’ve completed the likely futile effort of concatenating into one document nearly a couple hundred pages of lines and phrases. Now comes the sifting and sculpting. Whether any of that coalesces into even one poem remains to be seen.
Aaron Anstett’s collections are Moreover, Inosfar as Heretofore, Each Place the Body’s, No Accident, and Sustenance. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Lesley, and children. See aaronanstett.net for more.