Name: Kyle Field
Hometown: Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Current City: Los Angeles, California
What does poetry mean to you?
Well, it is a vague question, and to be honest I create more than I absorb from others these days, though my inspiration phase of early years was, of course, vital. Once you learn how to ride a bike there is less and less need to watch others doing it. Now it's time for them to watch you! Zoom zoom down the cobbly boulevard...
I truly enjoy the activity of puzzling words and rhymes and meter and syllable together, a practice I consider similar to constructing a picture or a painting. There are precise moves balanced with loose moves, and I believe that the difference in weight of several actions gives balance and flexibility to the fabric. Different juxtapositions based on the ever-evolving and mounting vocabulary of all of the words one has ever written, an ever-growing canon that reflects back on itself and rebounds, references, builds on and on, living in its own context and gaining mass glory and legend along the way.
That being said, my ideal place of reading is in bed, half-sick, maybe a mild fever, as I lay dying as the hunter's bow from Hamsun's Pan has felled me, and while bleeding I take in words on, sometimes hopefully, yellowed pages from a used $5 or less volume. This happens after I have run and run and run and worn out to the place that I have nothing left to say. Then, I read, with a notebook close at hand, and roll over with achy back and ribs, to jot in this small book of pages a tweak or grabbed phrase, sometimes twisting it into a song title. I rarely read my own poems. Most of my words ultimately end up in song, for, in some sense, I feel, if the words are strong, a poem is at it's strongest set to music.
I don't have any single favorites, but, for the purposes of this questionnaire, I will say David Berman, as I just dug out of an outdoor storage closet, only yesterday, my 4th copy (I've given it away three times) of his excellent book of poems, Actual Air, from 1999. I will now read from his poem:
"The Coahoma County Wind Cults"
My dream walked on four legs
toward the remote source
of a pale yellow letter
only to circle around the cabin
when it got there.
A black and white cave rainbow
arched between two old shoes.
Oxygen bounced off the face of a doll,
looking for the slow dazzling guts
of a life form.
There was a moment of sudden clarity
when the pages burned in opera glasses,
like a herd crossing zip codes
or an exhumed idea pressing
at the limits of the marquee bulbs,
my dream pushes air.
Why do you like this poet/poem?
What he does with words, word to word, gives me a liberating life experience, and I like the feeling just to have my eyes pass over them on a page. I also feel like he is always abstractly talking about something so normal in some sense, so universal to the human experience, yet the way he reframes it is intoxicating. That sounds so corny—descriptions and comparisons are odious, especially if the thing speaks for itself so well. Sometimes the spoken word is a jacket too tight.
His dead blog is still quite interesting. He talks about when he quit writing, like when Duchamp quit making art and just played chess, I somehow love these kind of grand gestures.