An interview with Tao Lin

It’s not often I get to play the straight man in interviews, but this week is an exception.  I interviewed Tao Lin about his new book of poems, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, for Bookslut, and the results were characteristic:

Who do you imagine as the audience for your poems? Who are you writing for?

My target audience is 12-17 year-old children who exhibit signs of social anxiety. I imagine them sleeping in class in middle school while maintaining a B average. I imagine them in high school thinking “Chuck Palahniuk is immature” while still enjoying his early works. I imagine them walking alone in gated communities listening to early Rilo Kiley.

My target audience is also 18-30 hipsters. I imagine them on the L train listening to some new NYC indie band on their iPod hating their life and feeling good and occasionally thinking “steady cash flow without a real job would be good” while knowing it would just make their despair more noticeable to themselves, due to having less distractions from it, but also more amusing for everyone—something they value in life.

Read the whole thing!

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