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6 Poets, 6 Questions: Ben Mirov in Conversation

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Ben Mirov
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Year

2012
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Timothy Donnelly, Randall Mann, and Ben Mirov presented a panel titled "Poetry in the Age of Social Media" at the sixth annual Poets Forum in New York City, October 18-20, 2012.


Poets.org: How do you know when you've finished writing a poem?

Ben Mirov: I usually get a vertiginous feeling followed by nausea.

Poets.org: What word are you proud of sneaking into a poem? What word would you never put in a poem?

Mirov: I once used the word "exsanguinate" in a poem. That felt pretty good.

I can't think of a word I'd never put in a poem. Poetry has contexts and mutations for even the clunkiest of words. If I were to think of a word I'd never put in a poem, poetry would prove me wrong.

That being said, I kind of hate the word "heart."

Poets.org: What do you see as the role of the poet in today's culture?

Mirov: The role of the poet in today's culture is the same as it's always been: to be a huge transparent eyeball.

Poets.org: Which poet's work do you continually go back to?

Mirov: I don't have an appropriate answer for this question. I've always been inspired by deep-sea organisms. Their anatomy and diversity is poetic. I love the proliferation of forms that can be found in the deep ocean.

Poets are great too.

Poets.org: Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr? How does that fit into your writing life, if at all??

Mirov: I use Facebook and Twitter. I use them to share my work and other things. They exist outside of my writing life as mechanisms of self-destruction, reflection, and promotion.

I like to think my "writing life" resists their ephemerality. I'm sure it does. Poetry is an impenetrable black orb I carry inside me. Twitter and Facebook exist in the world outside the orb, and ceaselessly try to quantify and measure it. But the orb exists in a kind of non-physical plane, beyond my own attempts to understand it, using my hands and brain to write things down.

Poets.org: What are you reading right now?

Mirov: I just started reading Shadow and Claw, by Gene Wolfe. It's the first book of a sci-fi tetralogy called Book of the New Sun. I'm also reading Works on Paper by Eliot Weinberger. It's the last of his essay collections I haven't read, so I'm savoring it.