Page 10 of 13
This fall, McSweeney’s published 27-year-old—“I’m a Cancer!”—Paul Legault’s The Emily Dickinson Reader, a hilarious “English-to-English translation” of all her poems. (It’s funny even if you’ve never read her work before.) It was his third book of poetry. He also founded Telephone Books, which publishes works in translation.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
I moved here from Virginia after grad school, landed in East Williamsburg, then Bed-Stuy, and now Crown Heights. Slowly moving deeper, as one does. All my friends from LA had packed up and moved to Brooklyn by the time I finished my MFA. So it looked like the right new home.
Anything about Brooklyn that bugs you?
Sometimes it makes me feel like a poor person in a bad way. Most of the time it makes me feel poor in a good way. What else... the new Barclays Center sucks.
What’s the most insightful thing anyone’s ever said about what you do?
I don’t know if it’s directly “insightful”—knowledge is often indirect—but Susan Howe, one of my idols, and an extremely insightful Emily Dickinson scholar, sent an email to tell me she was surprised to find out she liked The Emily Dickinson Reader. And I was, too. I hope more people have that reaction to the book, but it’s enough that she did—and a hint that writing out of some kind of weird love-obsession is both a good way to be prolific and to introduce yourself to the rest of the fan club.