MATTHEW BURNSIDE: For the readers out there, Kallie Falandays is a friend, editor of the online journal Kenning, and a scintillating poet. Her newest book, Dovetail Down the House, will be available this fall from the Burnside Review, which is a fantastic name for a literary journal.
*About this interview: we’re doing something special this time around. All of Kallie’s answers to my questions are excerpts from her forthcoming book.*
Kallie, thanks for letting me interview you. We’ll get to poetry soon enough but first, do you believe in aliens? If so, what do you think they think of us?
If you had to explain poetry to an alien with no concept of poetry, how would you go about it?
I'll never tell you it's not morning. Imagine it's not
morning. Imagine it's still night-washed:
What failures are you most proud of in your life?
all and all of the leaving.
What successes are you most ashamed of?
If you were here I'd wash your laundry
in my sink, I'd tell you to go home
and then to not go home.
If you had your own theme park amusement ride, what would it be called? What would it do? How many people would throw up on it a year?
Humans. Filled with witches. As much as 5 hundred trillion
adult Indian elephants.
Let’s talk poetry, which is like a theme park…or is it more like a zoo…or a space station?
Like morning, there is always one part that feels especially dark.
ee cummings once said, “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” What the hell does that even mean?
The bath rages like a coward.
Do you think “faking it” is an important skill for writers to cultivate, in the way that actors “fake it”? What I mean is, do you think it’s necessary to tell a lie to tell a truth?
Everywhere I look is covered in glass: to ask can you see it would be to lie.
If you had a million Legos and nothing better to do, what would you build?
In what ways can a poem fail?
Not knowing when to say yes.
In what ways can a poem succeed?
How to contemplate every opposite.
If you had to use the same 10 words to write poetry for the rest of your life, which 10 words would you choose for yourself?
Bed. Ocean. You. Like. Look. Bath. Hold. House. Morning. Undig.
Is love enough?
Yes. Love is not as long as forgetting.
For this next one, I let Wikipedia’s random article feature choose the subject. This is what came up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook-up. So, what dating advice can we glean from poetry?
Let me vibrate in the darkness of your throat songs.
Would you mind completing some sentences for me?
I’m guilty of nothing.
My inner weather tends to be rain.
A thing that has been done to death in poems and needs to stop is shatter.
A thing that can never be done enough in poems is look.
Life ends when you're hollowed out.
Life begins again whenever you wonder.
The reason I chose to name my book Dovetail Down the House is Here. This is your bed. You can live here. There are birds here.
All my ex-lovers would tell you I am spring.
God is like a bee-eater.