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Author: Param Anand Singh

Talking About Poems and What They Do Is Hard: A Defense of Nonsense, I Guess

An essay at 32 Poems by Matthew Buckley Smith poses two questions: Why do so many poems make so little sense? and Why do people like them so much? Smith (a poet I like and admire, who gives me hope that there is yet interesting poetry to be wrung from the iamb!) deems the questions “honest”—but I’d say at best they’re half-honest. If you wanted to know why people do certain things and why others like those things, the first thing you’d do, if possible, is ask the people in question. Sure, people are not always truthful, and there’s...

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Laura van den Berg’s “Find Me”

Real Pants is psyched (are psyched?) that Laura van den Berg—author of the acclaimed short story collection The Isle of Youth (and I do not use the word “acclaimed” loosely)—agreed to do some “painful” work, namely going through some early drafts of her first novel (due this month from FSG!). Here’s Laura:   .          .          .          .          . These three sections come from my novel, Find Me—different versions of the opening of a chapter that delves into the narrator’s personal history. Have I mentioned...

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Mel Bentley’s “Fish Song”

This week’s Revisioning is from Philadelphia’s Mel Bentley, author of the chapbook Stub Wilderness, which has thoroughly and permanently consecrated the PDF (with stuff like this: “it wasn’t vandalism / to cast two / females / into all that / moon imagery”). Linh Dinh once called Jeremy Hoevenaar “such a pure poet”—and I think that’s true of Mel. I mean Mel reminds me of Jeremy, yes—someone you could imagine heartbroken but never cynical, if you know what I mean. Here’s Mel with thoughts on revising culled from an email exchange with Toby Altman, followed by three versions of a...

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Revising (from Michael Kimball’s “The 1-Hour MFA”)

Lucky for us (all of us), novelist Michael Kimball has let Real Pants publish an excerpt from his talk The 1-Hour MFA for this Revisionings installment. He outs himself as an enthusiastic reviser and a meticulant when it comes to writing fiction prose. Makes sense. It seems to me that his novels leverage a certain precision in the prose— which is typically lean, inventive, and casual—to move big, big emotions in the reader without getting maudlin. Here’s Kimball:  .          .          .          .          ....

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Ed Steck’s “An Interface for a Fractal Landscape”

Should you get the opportunity, I recommend being driven around by Ed Steck late at night in a van, having just left something that he can’t abide at all. Ed complains in this really desperately beautiful way that endears you not only to him (so long as you’re not the target) but to the world generally. Luckily, he also writes well about his own work—absent all complaint! Here he is on the revisioning process behind An Interface for a Fractal Landscape (forthcoming!). .          .          .          .  ...

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Chris Mason’s “Normals Books and Records 425 E. 31st St. Baltimore Maryland”

In this Revisionings, great Balto poet and effortless human being Chris Mason gives us a peek at the process behind his poem “Normals Books and Records 425 E. 31st St. Baltimore Maryland” from his book Where To From Out (Furniture Press, 2013) (but now that I think about it, it may have originally been published in Shattered Wig Review—I’ll get back to you on that). I am trying to refrain from gushing. Let me say that reading his poetry, hearing his music, hearing him read, and participating in the unrehearsed literature of conversation with him are always profitable. Here’s...

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Morgan Parker’s “The Book of Exodus”

Revisionings is when a writer gives us a glimpse of the unseen phases in the development of a writ prior to publication. In this installment, Brooklyn poet Morgan Parker takes us behind the scenes of “The Book of Exodus,” which appears in There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, coming 2016 from Coconut Books, and was first published at The Offending Adam. Here’s Parker: I started this poem after writing one called “The Book of Genesis.” I had a grand vision of rewriting the Bible. (In the end, I wrote “The Book of Genesis,” “The Book of Exodus,” “The...

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