David Trinidad joins the Double Ds!
Trinidad is a member of the Core Poetry Faculty at Columbia College Chicago. His most recent book of poems is The Late Show, published by Turtle Point Press in 2007. His other books include Phoebe 2002: An Essay in Verse (Turtle Point, 2003), Plasticville (Turtle Point, 2000, finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets), Answer Song (High Risk/Serpent’s Tail, 1994), Hand Over Heart: Poems 1981-1988 (Amethyst Press, 1991), and Pavane (Sherwood Press, 1981). Trinidad has been called “a master of the postmodern pop-culture sublime.” His work is also associated with the innovative formalism of the New York School. Alice Notley has written, “There is an unwavering light in all of Trinidad’s work that turns individual words into objects, new facts.”
While your poetry is formal, I think you are a Reform School poet, meaning that you use form in truly unexpected ways. Of all the “received” forms, which are you most comfortable writing?
The haiku is the first form I played around with, in the eighties, and is the one I return to most often. I like the tininess of it (haikus are the miniatures of received forms!) and the obsessiveness of counting syllables, having to compress everything into so little a space. Yet a good haiku opens up, makes it seem bigger than it is. I guess that’s the payoff. And being able to use the form in an unexpected way. At heart I think forms are pretty silly. That puts me in Reform School for sure. I’m currently working on a piece called “Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera.” I watch an episode of PEYTON PLACE (the TV series from the sixties) then write a haiku about it. The only rules are: 1) I can’t watch the next episode until I finish the previous haiku, and 2) Every time Ryan O’Neal takes off his shirt, I have to mention it. There are over 500 episodes of PEYTON PLACE. Can’t you see it: a pop haiku epic! Wonderful, but ridiculous too.
If you were in charge of selecting People’s Sexiest Man Alive, who would you pick?
If we’re talking pure testosterone, I’d have to say Jon Hamm of MAD MEN. (If he can do a Yorkshire accent, don’t you think he’d make a perfect Ted Hughes?) But if we’re talking about the whole package, I’d have to say that I always react quite favorably to Justin Bartha (of NATIONAL TREASURE fame).