Bio & Response

Lisa Hargon-Smith

Lisa Hargon-Smith received an MFA from Colorado State University. Her poems have appeared in Fence, !Factorial, and Fine Madness. She lives in Athens, Georgia where she plays keyboard in the band Paper. She is also the bass player on the forthcoming album by Don Chambers and Goat.

Question #4: Susan Maxwell writes, “The poem furrows a way out of the white by running over it, while still white underneath ink.” Brian Kitely composes “postcard stories” that are, quite literally, started on the back of postcards that are then mailed to friends and family, after which the stories are rewritten and revised. And Bin Ramke finds that, “the necessity to make the tiny announcements that are line-ends in ‘standard’ verse becomes sometimes, often, annoying, arbitrary, and ultimately misleading.” Why do you write pp/ffs? How are your stories and poems brought into the world?

I’ve been having such a weird time writing lately that I can’t stop for the line break unless a line break stops for me. I have to start at the top of the page, then fling myself off with a pen in my hand like some sort of pick ax marking the momentum/moment of the decent I try to “get to the bottom of things” by simply falling off them. Sort of. Not very self-assured but it’s honest. Anyway, I also started feeling uncomfortable with the distinction between a poem and a prose poem, fiction, walking, sitting, the difference between one word and another and the difference between how a poem is read out loud and how it looks on the page. It’s not so much that I wanted the performance of a poem to remain true to its written version, but I became increasingly determined to keep the space between the poem’s speaker and its listener as uncluttered as possible. I mean, I didn’t want anyone to feel like they would have to read/listen between the line’s (break). For now, I want everything on the page, mainly because I need to feel like it’s OK to write anything I want in whatever form I need.