Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Taster of Poe Puts 20 Questions to Brian Palmu

1. Did your first book change your life?

Immeasurably -- I think. It coincided precisely with getting laid for the first time. I was reading Pinocchio to a woman I wasn't particularly attracted to. Next thing I know, I tell her a bald-boned lie, and .... well, the growth was such you could string all the underwear from the residents of Pittsburgh on its girth. So -- either the book or the sex made an enormous impression, an entrance, if you will, into worlds hitherto only dreamed of in an Archie comic book.

2. How do geography, race, gender figure in your work?

Immeasurably. I like to stare at a Rand-McNally wobbly tin orb for several hours before dipping my feathery quill into the Baby Duck red, at which time I strike striking poses of the world traveller, the consummate bon vivant amused with the threshing and meshing of human commerce and confusion in snappy epics delineating the absurdities of a plethora of indentured wayfarers caught in Kafkaesque line-ups at JFK, to give only one such international gambit.

Race also figures into the mix, predominately when I wax lugubrious over the effete machinations of hundred-metre finalists at pre-Olympic trials.

Gender is also important to my evolving -- or should I say bloated? -- opus. I frequently mention both sexes, sometimes in the same poem!

3. Do you write short, unconnected things? Or are you working, at the outset, with a larger project in mind?

I always like to approach the writing pad freely, without encumbrances of "sequence" or "linkages" in mind, staring over my shoulder to see if I'll be able to tie up waffle-making with the War on Terror, and tut-tutting my wayward efforts. Luckily, everything always seems to get back to the subject of croquet, anyway, so the money from my 100-book advance continues to be spent without guilt.

4. Do you, or do you not, enjoy public readings as part of the creative process?

They're immeasurable for my image. It takes a bit more effort, but my pic plagiarism of Fabio is harder to deceive with when I have to give verse pronouncements from behind a (sometimes) cheap celebrity mask. Those thin elastic fixtures have been known to snap mid-line. In fact, it brings up a rather horrific memory of when I intoned: "you're my one true blue endeavour", only to look up at the incredulous faces of the three members in the cavernous auditorium. I hastily grabbed my vanity mirror from back pocket, and noted my wax nose had melted diagonally and down, and was dripping profusely into the brass candle-holder.

5. Do you write with a theory in mind? Are you trying to answer specific questions?

Immeasurably so. Why are we here? How did I get here? What is my own particular purpose? Will that hot babe in the first row think it forward of me if I jot down, and hand to her, my room number on this soiled 8' x 11' scribble-fest, with the veiled suggestion of my proficiency with French ticklers?

The theory is all. I've given up on experience, since mine have all been rather confusing. With a dissembling theory, however, I can make my confusion a bible-like profundity.

6. Is an outside editor difficult? Necessary?

Yes to the first. At some point of the process with each of my 106 books, that know-it-all guy will ask: "are you sure you want to bring up the anecdote of the flaming marsupial, the drunken shriner, and the forlorn cave YET AGAIN?" Well, yes, Mr(s) Editor-In-Charge, it's salient to my entire corpus, Christ! I try to interject variety, but every great poet usually succeeds because of one great idea. And the above obsession, as the editor is right to point out, is mine, thank you very much.

As to the second, yes, my revolving, flustered, alcoholic, sad-eyed editors have been necessary as therapists and guaranteed readers.

7. After publishing 106 books over the years, do you find the process of book-making gets easier or harder?

Definitely harder. It becomes increasingly difficult to fool some of the people all of the time.

8. When was the last time you ate a hair?

That's a rather impertinent question. Pierre Trudeau once said that the government -- and by extension, the media -- should stay out of the bedrooms of Canadians.

9. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Timing, convincingly, when to gracefully, offhandedly depart for the restroom just before the bill arrives will save you thousands. And anybody can acquire new restaurant/bar friends if one is sycophantic enough.

10. What kind of writing routine do you have? How does a typical day begin?

I like to put on my Superman outfit, enter phone booths, bringing along my own phone book, and commence riffing on numbers and names while the simultaneous pounding on the windows help with my urgent churning-out of, oh, twenty or thirty classics a day. And let me tell you, that hosiery is quite thrilling in a public context, which stimulates the libidinal streams and derring do in my verse.

A typical day begins with me throwing up into a permanently affixed brass spittoon beside the bed. After tossing off a few .... poems that is .... I settle down to a breakfast of Mars bars and gatorade, at which time strange ideas of shriners, grottoes, and opposums enter my noggin.

11. Where is your favourite place to write?

On the toilet, on the witness stand, in confessionals, in bingo halls, I'm not particular.

12. When your writing gets blocked, where do you go for inspiration?

Blocked? Thanks for bringing up my constipation challenges. I think that's in the past. As for writing, blocked? I'm never blocked or tackled. One poem follows another like one potato chip to another. After a bag or three, I have a book, and it's not even noon yet!

13. How does your most recent work compare to your last? How is it different?

God, who knows? I can't remember my last thought, let alone my last book.

14. David W. McFadden once said that books come from other books. Are there other forms that influence your work?

Yeah, the forms of the June Taylor dancers. Listen, David W. McFadden should speak for himself. I told you that I didn't start reading until an adult. And it involved (and sometimes still does) lip movement and finger-scanning, which makes it hard to get a date on public transit when my hand has been so badly played pre-seduction. My own eminence influences me. Next question.

15. What other writings/writers are important for your work or life?

P. T Barnum.

16. What would you like to do that you've yet to do?

I'd like to do Janet Reno in the back of a taxicab sailing down a back alley, but that's probably just a dream.

17. If you could choose another line of work, what would it be?

Writing is work? Roofing in the rain is work. This, my friend, is play.

18. What made you write, rather than doing something else?

People only write? Well, I guess you're right. You got me.

I was easily self-qualified for it.

19. What was the last great book you skimmed? The last great movie?

How To Win Friends And Influence People. Peter Pan.

20. What are you currently writing?

I don't know what it's about, but I've just written a novel whilst waiting for your follow-up questions.

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