Is there one subject you feel you return to in your writing?
Death. Death and decay. Death, decay, and Existential Crises. Death, decay, Existential Crises, and a fanatical devotion to the Lurking Nameless. I’ll come in again.
What brought you to write “Oakbones”?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, which is known—amongst other things—for its slugs. One damp autumn day circa 1992 I was unstacking the firewood outside of the house in order to move it into the garage. At the bottom of the stack was a giant slug. When I say giant, I mean bigger than big, unnaturally huge. It was longer than my hand and covered in fur—long silky white fur, like some mutant angora rabbit. It was uncanny, weirdly beautiful, and unlike anything I’ve seen before or since. I came back looking for it an hour later, and it was gone. The thought of such an alien being creeping off slowly into the grass of our yard was rather mind-breaking. The idea has haunted me over the years.
Last autumn I was playing around with the word “oakbones” (which is the kind of thing that pops into my head when looking at bare branches). I wanted to do something special with the word—give it a proper send-off into the world—and my encounter with the slug came back to me. It’s a bit eldritch, a bit Lovecraftian, and inspired the horror of the final stanza.
What do you feel is the most important thing about poetry and its dialogue with the community at large?
Language largely exists as a means to name and discuss mundane things. If you want to do much more than that, you have to push the boundaries of language. Poetry provides a way of pushing those boundaries and getting at various essentials about the mind, the universe, and the human experience.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
Bees in Occulum
Blizzard in A-Minor Magazine
The Fire, the Eclipse, and the Spiders in Burning House Press
History & the Doomed in Barren Magazine
Multiverse Problem, or Walking Home from Work in Former Cactus