Gail Wronsky
December 2009


Gail WronskyGail Wronsky is the author of Blue Shadow Behind Everything Dazzling:  Poems of India; coauthor with Molly Bendall of Bling & Fringe:  The L.A. Poems; and author of Poems for Infidels;; Dying for Beauty, a finalist for the Western Arts Federation Poetry Award; The Love-talkers; Again the Gemini are in the Orchard; and Dogland .  She is the translator of Alicia Partnoy’s book Volando Bajito, and she is the coauthor with Molly Bendall of two books of “cowgirl” poetry:  Calamity and Belle, A Cowgirl Correspondence and Dear Calamity, Love Belle. .

Gail’s poems and essays have appeared in many journals, including Volt, Pool, Runes, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Antioch Review, Boston Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Santa Monica Review, Laurel Review, Crazyhorse, Burnside Review, Lafovea, and Pistola.  Her work has also appeared in anthologies, including Poets Against War, The Poet’s Child, A Chorus for Peace, and Grand Passion:  The Poetry of Los Angeles and Beyond.

She has an MFA from the University of Virginia, a PhD from the University of Utah, and is Director of Creative Writing and Syntext (Synthesizing Textualities) at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Poetics Statement

The main thing is to change.  Change through collaboration.  Change through travel.  Change through trauma.  Change for the sake of changing, yes.  Go to India.  Get a dog.  Read Emile Durkheim or one of the fabulous new animal ethologists or I, Fatty.  Work in a hospital—that’s the body:   ambulances, bedpans, death.  Swallow peyote . . .  

I think the energy and intellectual force of contemporary American poetry right now is awesome (in the sense of awe).  I worry, though, about this becoming a baroque period, about poetry entering a late phase in which experimentation is simply decorative—an arch parody of language play.  I fear that movements like Oulipo (so thrilling in the seventies!) made too many academics feel as though they, too, could be poets.  Some are and some aren’t, of course.  Sometimes I open a journal and want to cry.  How a certain kind of recognizable surface manipulation has become de rigueur. I don’t want poets to abandon either politics (real politics, not just language politics) or the soul--the inner lives of us, of animals, of things--or the planet.  My advice to young poets:  risk really saying something.  (This from someone who spends so much time and energy burying “statement” in her own work—ah well.)

What I’ve learned about my own writing after 30-some years of doing it is that I’ve got to keep about one third of my poet-self in the actual world, one third in the literary/intellectual world, and one third in my own life and mind--be honest about what I find in those places, and slam those discoveries up against each other almost randomly.  The chance collisions that occur then are the kind that sometimes end up being poems.  Surrealism will always rock.

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