The New York & London-based poet Kathryn Maris, whose first book, The Book of Jobs, came out last year, was kind enough to talk withÂ me (for Bookslut) about that collection, her new work, and about the “hermetic co-existence” of British & American poetry.Â Here’s a taste:
The title of poem of The Book of Jobs has a great phrase about the problem with adults: We are “bloated with identity.” Do you see poems as offering a kind of relief for this state? How would that work? (Did I just call poetry a diuretic?)
The phrase â€œwe are bloated with identityâ€ comes at the end of one of the earliest poems in the collection â€œAfter Visiting The Job Books.â€ But though it was one of the first poems I started, it was possibly the last poem I finished. And thatâ€™s because it was only after I got married and had children that I understood the downside of identity and responsibilityâ€”the way that you can feel like you might explode with all you must be: wife, mother, daughter, friend, writer, teacherâ€”or whatever your identity happens to be.
As for poetry providing relief from that: poetry, for me, provides relief from uncomfortable psychological states in general.
Read the whole thing!