Laura van den Berg interviews David Roderick

Memorious staff member Laura van den Berg speaks with contributor David Roderick in these week’s contributor interview:

Your poems 35 Miller Drive and As When Drought Imagines Fire appear in Memorious 13. Can you tell us a little about how the poems came to be?

I can’t remember many specifics. Since my first book didn’t include any love poetry, “35 Miller Drive” and “As When Drought Imagines Fire” were attempts at writing within that tradition. They’re not conventional love poems. In fact, they’re pretty warped. Both endings of the poems, if I recall correctly, were lines I culled from old notebooks. I’d wanted to use those lines for a long time.

You are a recent recipient of the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship. Where did you go?

The scholarship was a life-altering experience, and I’ll feel grateful for it to the end of my days. Here’s the list: Greece, Italy, Morocco, France, England, Ireland, Czech Republic, Japan, Australia, New Zealand. I blame the nutty amount of travel on my wife’s wanderlust. Many of our experiences in those places continue to inspire and inform my poems, especially stuff we saw in Italy, Ireland and Japan.

What are you reading now?

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of international writers and writers in translation. I’m currently working through The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, expertly edited by Ilya Kaminsky. I’m also chipping away at Vittorio Sereni’s Selected Poetry and Prose and the new edition of Cavafy’s Collected Poems, translated by Daniel Mendelsohn. Another new obsession is the Kennedy family, so I’ve been reading a lot about JFK and RFK.

What are you working on now?

My second book, which I hope to wrap up this year. It’s tentatively titled Dear Suburb. Both of the poems in Memorious 13 are included in the book.

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