Lightsey Darst

Check out Lightsey's author page at Coffee House Press, where you can order Find the Girl.

A.) What's the first poem you remember writing?

8th grade: we had a poetry project due. All this stuff just spilled out of me. My teacher wrote "Not as assigned, but I'm sure I'll see this in a novel sometime!" I have no idea what she was talking about.

I'm pretty sure none of it was any good. Maybe it was bad in a good way, though.

B.) What are three songs you've listened to on repeat lately?

C.) Do you carry music around with you throughout the day? If so, what are you listening to and when are you listening to it?

Ha ha, these questions about music are totally embarrassing.
I have one of those in-trunk CD players, so I never change my CDs. For what, 6 months, I've been listening to Neko Case's Middle Cyclone, Aimee Mann's Smilers, the Brandenburg Concertos, a couple of mix CDs, and my husband, Jay Orff's latest CD.

I listen to everything over and over. Right now I am listening to Jeremy Messersmith, "Organ Donor". I do not consider myself to have taste in music. It's nice to have a field in which one is an idiot. If I want to dance to it, I like it. Since I've been taking ballet for years, this includes, you know, Mozart's Requiem. I'm sorry, is that sacrilegious?

And now I'm listening to Free Energy, "Bang Pop," and dancing a little too much to write.

D.) Do you carry poetry around with you throughout the day? Whose books are you carrying?

Yes. Lately I've carried Nick Demske's Nick Demske, MC Hyland's Neveragainland, Anne Carson's Decreation. Right now I'm packing my MCAD students' incredible poetry projects. I had to declare them at the airport and stuff them in a 1-quart plastic baggie.

E.) Reading back over your work from the first issue of Taiga, your collection Find The Girl and the pieces in this Issue A, you don't seem particularly bound to a poetic "style." What have you observed as the common threads of your work over the past few years? Can you describe the project that the pieces in this project are part of-- "Underbook"?

The Underbook/Das Untervork! (I know that means nothing) is a very self-indulgent thing I am doing to clear the air before I write the next section of my current big project, which is a trip through hell, earth, and paradise (up next: paradise).

No, I think "finding your voice"=cowardice, so I will try to avoid a consistent style for the rest of my poetic life. Why shut a door when you can open one. Trisha Brown, around age 60, said that at last her long apprenticeship in choreography was over. Here's to the long apprenticeship.