Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mini Portraits of Writers Week 2

Week Two: Maryrose Larkin

1. Tell about a book that you have loved for at least a decade.

Susan Howe’s Articulation of Sound Forms in Time. I call it the book that broke my aesthetic back. Leslie Scalapino, the first person to really expose me to experimental writing, lent it to me the first week I was a student at Bard.

I applied to Bard because it was close to my home in New Paltz, and because I admired Robert Kelly’s work and wanted to study with him, but I really had no sense of contemporary poetry. I read Articulation repeatedly over a week. At first I found it entirely incomprehensible, but at some point (maybe reading 20? reading 50?) the beauty and newness of it just broke me open. I didn’t know anything about poetry theory or history, but it didn’t matter. Articulation made anything in writing possible and beautiful.

2. What circumstances are most conducive to your creative work?

I need the illusion of unlimited time. I don’t need unlimited time, but I need to feel that there isn’t the rest of life pressing in on me from all sides.

3. What questions would you like to explore through your work at the moment? Talk about a work in process, or your most recent work.

I just finished a huge project called Late Winter 30. I took 30 days of free writing done in the last 30 days of winter in 2005, along with weather reports for those days and used it as a source text for 30 poems, which explored internal and external weather, and how it connects. I was interested in if things can be autobiographic and still not autobiographic, meaning if the language of my emotional life at the time could somehow be transformed and integrated into a landscape (I think of the poems as a landscape over time).

Also beauty. How to use chance operations, google, translation software, excel spreadsheets, cut ups etc. to move beyond itself and create beauty. Or that the point of this poet is to discover that through procedures.

4. On method, provide a writing assignment, tactic or process that you’ve found useful.

I like to write or assemble a poem and then run all the lines backwards to see what happens.

I like to ban words. When I finish a manuscript, I’ll ban the top ten nouns or verbs for a few years, so I don’t always put the moon in a moon shaped hole.

I think it is really important to discard meaning as a mindset.


To see a photo of Maryrose doing her neo benshi piece in a cave go to:
then search blog for:
maryrose larkin cave performance

to see the Joan of Arc Film go to:


Teresa Carmody said...

Wow! Those cards (and that machine) is amazing!

Sarah M said...

Thanks for these Laynie. Great questions!