Six Questions with Randall Mann by

In anticipation of the 2012 Poets Forum, our friends at the Academy of American Poets will conduct a series of six-question interviews featuring six different poets leading up to their event this month, October 18–20. BOMB is excited to be able to share the first interview in this series, a conversation with Randall Mann. How do you know when you’ve finished writing a poem?

Randall Mann A poem is finished, I guess, when each successive stanza, line, word, and punctuation mark adds up to an argument—for lack of a better word—that is clear yet compellingly elusive. What word are you proud of sneaking into a poem? What word would you never put in a poem?

Mann I snuck the word “snuggle,” one of the most appalling in the language, into a recent poem. I like that. I don’t think I can afford to ban words. What do you see as the role of the poet in today’s culture?

Mann The poet should shut the door and write poems, and then, after much time and care, show the world. If this goes well, the role-playing will take care of itself. Which poet’s work do you continually go back to?

Mann Philip Larkin. Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr? How does that fit into your writing life, if at all?

Mann I’m on Facebook, and I’m on Twitter when I remember I’m on Twitter. They exist on the virtual edge of my lit life, i.e., the sharing of a poem or article here, the congratulatory exclamatory here, the benign self-promotion and low-grade narcissism there. Etc. What are you reading right now?

Mann I’m kind of obsessed with the fashion designer Halston right now, so I’m reading a trashy biography, Simply Halston, as well as Steven Bluttal’s gorgeous pictorial, Halston. I’m also re-reading Michael Hofmann’s books, including CoronaCorona and Approximately Nowhere, as I am writing a piece on studying with him and want to revisit his work. He’s an absolutely brilliant writer.

Read more about Randall Mann on here.

The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit organization. Events for their 2012 Poets Forum start on October 18th and will include a rich and varied selection of readings, discussion panels, literary walking tours of the city, and more. For a complete listing of events, go to the Academy’s website. BOMB is proud to feature interviews from the 6 Poets, 6 Questions series over the coming month.

Three Poems by Diana Arterian
Diana Arterian Ice
Conversation Smudging: Sophie Seita on Translating Uljana Wolf by Zoe Brezsny
Sophie Seita Banner

“The book can draw in different audiences without catering to them. There’s a kind of rigorous hospitality, an aperture for dialogue.”

Sound Over Sense by Marjorie Welish
Clark Coolidge 01

Syntactical adventure and rolling ruminations in Clark Coolidge: Selected Poems 1962–1985

Tókȟaȟ’an: To Lose, to Suffer Loss, to Be Gone by Gillie Collins
Layli Long Soldier 01

Wordplay as dissent in Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas