J. P. Dancing Bear is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts. His eleventh poetry collection is Family of Marsupial Centaurs and other birthday poems (Iris Press, 2012).
His poem "Every Seven Years the Cells of the Body Are Replaced" appears in Issue Thirty-Six of The Collagist.
Here, J.P. Dancing Bear talks with interviewer Elizabeth Deanna Morris about dust, time passing, and being eaten by the world.
1. Could you talk about crafting this poem? Did you pile up the lines like dust pushed by a broom?
I very much had a solid idea in mind when I wrote this poem. The words and flowed straight out of the ideas that I had formed about dust and connection.
2. Speaking of dust, I loved how the form of the poem was spread out amongst itself, slowing down the reading as the poem transformed, much like the body loses/changes its cells every seven years, but that change is hard, while within it, to locate and notice. Could you talk about how you crafted this form?
Yes, I very much wanted some of the lines, the phrases, the words to break away from structure, so that the physical poem is a metaphor.
3. I interpreted the “house of love” as being our bodies at some point in time (or, perhaps, our bodies together, at some static moment where we can both understand that we are no longer/soon will not be the same.) Could you talk about what you think it means to have bodies that are, many times in our lives, no longer the bodies that we remember?
I think this goes to the heart of the poem. That the physical body proves we are spiritual and because our “dust” is eaten or absorbed and spread throughout the world, we are also interconnected.
4. What have you read so far in the heat of this summer?
I’ve had a chance to read the last two Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, Snuff and Unseen Academicals. I just finished John Scalzi’s Redshirts, and I’ve recently started Christopher Moore’s Fool, which I am totally loving!
5. What other things have you been working on, writing wise?
I’ve been working on my next book, The Abandoned Eye, which will be released by FutureCycle Press.