Author Q&A

Open Book with Shira Dentz, Wendy Chin-Tanner and Adam Tedesco


On Friday, April 12, The Bookstore in Lenox will host three poets with collections just out or on the way. Adam Tedesco's "Mary Oliver" (Lithic Press) has been on shelves since February; Wendy Chin-Tanner's "Anyone Will Tell You" (Sibling Rivalry Press) will be released April 12; and Shira Dentz's "the sun a blazing zero" (Lavender Ink/Di logos) will be published on May 1. Instead of singling out one of these poets for an Open Book, The Eagle decided to ask all three of them some questions about their favorite poems by email in advance of the Lenox event, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

What are some of the best poems you've read recently?

Dentz: Stacy Kidd's "(a) -—" and "(e) -" from a short project/series she calls "Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Echo."

Chin-Tanner: "Everything" by Jane Wong and "My Name is Wolf" by Chiwan Choi.

Tedesco: "The Dark Church" by Joseph Donahue, an untitled poem by Maged Zaher, and "Aging" by Rosmarie Waldrop.

What were some of your favorite poems as a child?

Dentz: I didn't actually read poetry on my own until I was about 12, and for some reason I got very into the poems of Hermann Hesse and looked to his poetry as models for my own. In my later teens I discovered St phane Mallarm 's ["Un Coup De Des Jamais N'abolira Le Hasard"], John Ashbery's "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," and Sylvia Plath. Before this though, I was an avid reader of fiction and nonfiction and had committed at the ripe age of 7 to trying to be a writer. There's a lot of poetry in much prose, and I've always loved metaphor; noting relationships between and among things around me.

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Chin-Tanner: I started reading poetry when I was 10 and the first poem that grabbed me by the lapels and made me feel like I, too, might be able say some of the things I wanted to say in poetic form was "This Is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams. The condensation of language, the layers of meaning, the disarming simplicity, and the freshness of that poem's contemporary expression spoke deeply to me. From there, I searched out poetry that had similar qualities like "Catullus 85," "I hate and I love ... " but I also discovered poets like Edna St. Vincent Millay whose poem "Assault" spoke deeply to me as a child who was overwhelmed by the noises and dangers of growing up in New York City, and W.B. Yeats whose "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" remains the most romantic love poem I have ever read.

Tedesco: Poetry didn't take hold of me until I was about 13 years old, at which time I read "A Season in Hell" and "Les Chants de Maldoror" by Arthur Rimbaud and Comte de Lautr amont, respectively. These remain favorites of mine.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Dentz: Books currently on my nightstand are many! They include Francis Ponge's "The Table," Steven Dunn's "water & power," Harryette Mullen's "Urban Tumbleweed," Don Mee Choi's "Hardly War," and Shena McAuliffe's "The Good Echo."

Chin-Tanner: Jane Wong's "Overpour," Randa Jarrar's "Him, Me, Muhammad Ali," LeAnne Howe's "Savage Conversations," and Geneve Chao's "Emigre."

Tedesco: "The Ambrose J. and Vivian T. Seagrave Museum of 20th Century American Art" by Matthew Kirkpatrick, "Oyster" by Amie Zimmerman, "The Soft Life" by Bridget Talone, and "Every Hospital by Bertrand Goldberg (Except One)" by Toby Altman.

Benjamin Cassidy can be reached at, at @bybencassidy on Twitter and 413-496-6251.


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