Dara Wier joins the Double Ds!
Wier is the author of Hat on a Pond , nominated for a Phi Beta Kappa Award; Voyages in English ; Our Master Plan ; Blue for the Plough ; The Book of Knowledge ; All You Have in Common ; The 8-Step Grapevine ; and Blood, Hook & Eye . Recent work has appeared in the Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize Anthology . Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is also a recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review . Wier’s most recent book, Selected Poems, was released today. Click here to purchase a copy from Wave Books.
What is your favorite dessert?
I favor Doberge cake from New Orleans Gambino’s for it’s been the cake for our family birthdays forever.
I favor homemade bread pudding, with pecans in it, apples, too, & a rum sauce, from pan perdu, lost bread, scraps of baguettes.
I favor plain vanilla crème brulee for the pleasure of cracking its crust.
I favor homemade peach ice cream.
I favor wild blackberries floating in a bowl on a pool or pond, crusted with sugar, ice cold.
How did you pick the poems for your New Selected? How long did it take you to pick them?
I stood at a copy machine up in my study at Jim’s house, with all my books in a stack nearby and I started copying, my plan was to be ruthless but not overly cruel, knowing this first pass through would be whittled down into something truly selected. I hadn’t anticipated the sense of exhilaration I felt as I took the poems out of their original books, it was so exciting to feel them let loose, very much a surprising outcome. Then the hard work began, several people read the first selections knowing I’d be cutting it down by almost half. Emily Pettit, Jim Tate, Matthew Zapruder, these three each gave me different takes on the manuscript—-they were immensely helpful, kind, truthful, opinionated, varied, I’m grateful. It took a couple of years—-but not exclusively working on it, I was working on new poems and other manuscripts as well. I think it was a good thing for it to be a slow process. The book’s physically gorgeous.
I did become aware of how one could make so many different kinds of selections and turn oneself into several different kinds of poets; I tried not to think of that too much. Too frightfully over-thought. Poetry’s always given me a reason to live, a selected is a historical document that hints at why. Imagination has always been central to everything I do, whether it’s daydreaming (or enjoying dreaming’s apparently passive imaginative presentations), writing, making up stories, listening to stories, having good conversations, reading, cooking, house-keeping, working outdoors, finding my way across a geography, thinking about time, thinking about words colliding, listening to music and sounds, watching light, keeping track of seasons, enjoying the company of friends and family, being in awe of our existence on a day to day basis, being frightened by our mortality and awed by love’s persistence, being eternally surprised by all that we are. (e.g. for a good feel for these feelings, see Christopher Smart’s jubilate agno. It’s breath-takingly beautiful and heart-breakingly wild)