New local literary press, Hoot’n’Waddle, are preparing for the grand release of their book of poetry. And who did Hoot’n’Waddle choose for this inaugural honor? None other than Christopher Danowski, Phoenix poet turned U.K. professor (this coming term), and his collection of poetic musings titled, DOGSEAR.
Join Christopher Danowski and the good people of Hoot’n’Waddle for the launch of DOGSEAR at Wasted Ink Zine Distro this weekend (9/15). But, before that happens, we asked Danowski to tackle our short POETRY questionnaire to find out more about this inspiring local writer.
Who are you and what do you do?
Christopher Danowski: Good question, you caught me at a weird moment. I have this book coming out, and I also just got offered a post as a Lecturer in Performance at a university in England, and that starts like in a month. So it’s exciting for me right now, but also my right eye is twitchy because I’m waiting to hear about visa things, and most of my things are in a trunk and getting loaded onto a boat bound for the U.K. So this is a very liminal space. I like liminal spaces, mind you, they’re my favorite spaces really, but I don’t know who I get to be next, but I know it’s going to be very different than who I was a month ago. Hm, also, I write texts for performance and I direct the texts, and make them into ritual experiences that have live and mediated components, and it’s lots of fun and I hope I never have to stop doing that. Also, also, I have lots of conversations with terribly interesting people. That’s what I do.
What is poetry?
I don’t know. When I was younger I used to think I knew, but I don’t think I was correct. I know sometimes I write little poetic things, but I would not call them poetry. I have heard poets who call themselves poets and when read their writing and call it poetry, I know my stuff doesn’t sound like that.
Who or what are you influences?
Yikes, a really long list, and they’d be composed of the living and the dead and the ones not yet born, but that list would be too long, and I would leave someone off of it for sure, and that would be embarrassing, so I’ll just list some of the dead, some of the ones who are always on my mind when I’m doing work: Maya Deren, Ana Mendieta, Tadeusz Kantor, Leonard Cohen, Laurie Carlos, David Bowie, Marcel Duchamp, Reza Abdoh…
What are you reading?
I just finished Society of the Dead by Todd Ramón Ochoa, an anthropologist writing about Palo, and am going back to it; it’s just amazing, one of the best things I’ve read on this very misunderstood, and very beautiful, tradition. I just started Sarah Hepola’s book on drinking, Blackout, because I used to drink too and I like reading work by people who used to drink a lot and now don’t. I’m also reading this cool little poetry collection, Athanatos by Lianna Schreiber, and she seems like a promising new voice. Oh, I’m also reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem because I recently saw a documentary on Joan Didion and realized I hadn’t read this one, and it sounded important (and it’s fascinating). And also almost through Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy, and it’s extraordinary.
What is your mantra?
Don’t forget: this is a love story.