For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
I like what Robbie Dewhurst said about my new book, Black Life, in the latest issue of ON Contemporary Practice, in which he wrote:
“While [Lasky] is thus endlessly confused by reviewers surprised at her “earnest sincerity” with the allegedly self-absorbed “confessional” poets of mid-century, for me Lasky has most in common with a stylistically diverse line of usually forgotten and mostly soulsick writers who’ve inhabited language literally, and risked using the poem as a kind of depersonalizing, radically signifying material.”
I think that’s about right. When it comes to my poems, I am definitely writing with an instinct to depersonalize versus a desire to say something sincere.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
Last New Year’s Eve, I watched a movie called Ikiru (1952), which means “To Live” in Japanese. In the movie, the main protagonist is living a bureaucratic nightmare. He has a kind and gentle (and also very strangely familiar) soul. When he finds out he has terminal stomach cancer and only a little bit more to live, he undertakes a project that gives his life meaning. Anyway, I think everyone should watch this movie. We should never forget how important it is to make meaning in our lives.
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)?
Whoa, I love this question. There are so many possibilities here. I’d hunt down a copy of tell alls about Cyndi Lauper, Angelina Jolie (especially if it covered just from birth through age 16), Stephen King, Prince, Puffy/P-Diddy, Sully Sullenberger, and Linda Goodman. But, wait, wouldn’t the checkout clerk be interested in these books, too?
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
I think I might still be some sort of starving artist. I think not being wealthy has made me the opposite of brilliant, because I am always worrying about money. I hate the idea that artists need to starve to make art. Who thought up that line? It’s a load of crap. I think artists and writers and musicians should make a decent wage doing their art, if not a whole lot of money.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
I love when readers talk to me after a reading and tell me that they like my poems. And then give me a drawing they made for me. That’s my favorite part.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?