For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
Robert Hass introduced a reading I gave at UC Berkeley a few years back, and he described my work as being about “Saudade, the longing for place, for love, for order, for a morally comprehensible universe.” That sounds about right to me.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers' lives for the better?
I recently read Kyung-sook Shin’s gorgeous and heartbreaking novel Please Look After Mom. It broke my heart and, I think, enlarged something in it. It’s a beautiful, clear, honest and courageous book.
Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn’t look at you screwy)?
I would be thrilled for anything written by David Bowie.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Yes, and it made me very eager to finish my first book and let someone take me out to a celebratory dinner.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
Thoughtful conversation about topics that my work might be gesturing toward. A bit of laughter. And the chance, for me, to learn something new: books, films, music, some pop-culture morsel.
Have you ever written anything that you'd like to take back?
Generally I wait a long time before sending poems out for publication, but a few years ago, I published a batch of just-finished poems. I imagine it must be nice for the poems to have a life of their own now, but they and I are no longer in touch.