Narrative is a baggy concept. It accommodates anything from a baseball box score to the Iliad. Might it be possible we employ the term for any sequence of events that occur through time that seem to have some sort of relationship, a causal relationship even? Our language, albeit in spite of the Futurist attempt at words-at-liberty, makes a sequential sense—syntax is time passing so we could say any sentence or group of sentences is to some extent a narrative. Which pretty much makes the term useless. As divergent as my poetic practice is, I try to be alert to possible strains within drafts that signal modes of connection. For me those modes of connection certainly don’t need to be rational, logical, plotted, or telling a story. But any signal whatsoever I try to attend to and see as an opportunity, so sometimes I do end up using threads of traditional narrative, the scaffolding of story that can establish a stability, an endoskeleton. We could say that there is a narrative to these three words: brick, blood-drop, red feather which entails the passage from inert material to mortal flesh to a sort of avian/angelic possibility or we could say that what holds those things together is their redness. I try to be alert to as many possibilities of connectedness as I can simultaneously, even if one may undermine the authority of another.
My top pal/mentor Todd McKinney has two poems up at the new and stellar Split Lip Magazine.
Very stoked for Wendy Xu's first book (not to mention that collab chapbook with my buddy Sturm). Cool to hear her talk about po-po and such.
I think language is always waiting patiently on us to engage it, to play with it and arrange its parts, to build something weird out of it, but the hardest time to stop and think to do this is any space outside of poems. To “negotiate” with a poem is right--it says things, you say something back, you say YES! or you say OH NO, but the two of you build the complete experience together. I always like when part of a poem’s contribution to the negotiation is a pseudo-“normal” syntax, if it seems aware and proud of its glitch, and if it wants to subvert my normalized expectations at every turn.I have a poem "How Many Years" in the new nap magazine.