You talk about love in your poem “A Strange Place for Snow.” When was the first time you knew love “could be an ingredient?”
The value and particular taste of a home cooked meal has always been something that fascinated me. I grew up in a house that always ate together at five and, on leaving home, I turned to cooking as often as I could for relaxation. I always knew that there was something very particular of about the taste of my mom’s meals, regardless of what the meal was, that could not be replicated anywhere. A kind of warmth or weight, I don’t know, something.
I turned the cooking often after I left home, sometimes for friends, but mostly for myself. It was not until my first serious relationship, the relationship referred to in the poem, that I felt that weight in my own meals. It felt like something willed into the food out of the, first anxiety and then anticipation, of putting something good in front of someone I loved.
It is only recently I have tried to cook my mom’s dishes. Even love, it seems, can’t replicate how good her pork chops taste.
What does the title “A Strange Place for Snow” mean or refer to?
The title was taken from a jazz album by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio. I was listening to that album often last winter, when this poem was written. Both the phrase and the song captured, for me, that tenuous position of almost getting over someone. A confusion, more then a sadness, at the memory of something beautiful.
What book is on your bedside table right now?
Currently reading Haruki Murakami The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, borrowed from a friend during a move out to West Philly. It’s very cool. It reads like something written actively out of the imagination, like the author didn’t know what would happen next himself. Even the most mundane new events seem really strange. I have no idea where it is going, but I’m loving every chapter.
If a writer was visiting from a faraway city and asked you to take her somewhere in Philly to be inspired, where would you go?
If I had to stick to one area, it would probably be south street. Even though it’s been tamed over the years, I think South Street is still one of the best places to go to see every shade of what Philadelphia has to offer. The Magic Garden, Pearl of Africa, Whole Foods, cheese steaks, tattoo shops. Penn’s Landing, the Arden and art galleries not too far away. It’s all there.
What is your current project? How’s it going?
I’m currently working on a show called Recycled Jazz Beats with former Excellano project cohort Caroline Rothstein. It’s a exploration of the lines between poems and songs, singing, acting and reciting, all with a live jazz band backing us up. Lots of room for creativity, plus it will be my first show in New York. It’s on for August 25th 7pm at the Nuyo. There been more details on my site in the months to come.
I’m also still shopping around for the best print option for my new chapbook (of which A Strange Place for Snow is the title poem). I hope to put together a show around it this fall.