A Cumulative Interview with Joshua Gage


1 - What is your favourite fruit?

While I appreciate the kumquat for its name and the prickly pear's sweetness, my favorite fruit would have to be any variety of capsicum, especially habaneros.

2 - Of what poem does the word "cherry" immediately make you think?

Unfortunately, when I hear the word cherry, I immediately am reminded of the leopard print jackets worn by Sax-o-tromba when they opened up for Cherry Poppin' Daddies way back when. And now "Zoot Suit Riot" is stuck in my head. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

3 - If a mask were to choose you, what would it be of?

There is a spot on I-90 that runs between Lake Erie and the power plant. If a traveller makes the journey West at the right hour, the power plant will be dumping its water into the lake, creating a heavy steam that all but envelops the highway, and makes it near impossible to see, let alone drive. Pulling out of this fog, one is caught between the natural elements of the lake and the industrial majesty of the power plant, staring at an overcast Cleveland on the verge of sunrise. A mask choosing me would be of these elements--the grey waves of the lake, the steel, brick and mortar of industry, the lingering night in an overcast haze, the parting clouds of steam and the sun stretching into dawn.

4 - What [were] you reading [in July 2008]?

I would like to say that I was reading something like the grains of coffee at the bottom of my cup, but in reality, I was reading collections of Japanese haiku and waka, building a speculative manuscript based on those forms.

5 - What's your favourite kind of weather?

Either a light drizzle in an autumn afternoon — enough that I have to wear a Pendleton, but not enough that it sticks--or a snow storm at night, when it seems as though the stars are pulling off of the sky.

6 - Do you believe in ghosts?

Very much.

7 - In a poetry cage-match between William Shakespeare and Sappho, who would win and why?

I think Shakespeare would win because Sappho would consider the fight itself, like all war, childish and beneath her.

8 - What fantasy book/fantasy world government would you most want to live under, if the choice presented itself?

I would like to live somewhere in Terry Pratchett's Discworld. I think, however, Anhk-Morpork might be too urban and Vetinari too tyranical. Lancre would be too remote, and I have a feeling the witches (who, let's face it, are the real power) and I would not get along well. Klatch and Djelibeybi would be too hot, and Uberwald too dangerous. Thus, I think I'd like to settle somewhere in XXXX, most likely Bugarup. No worries, eh?

9 - J. M. Barrie's Neverland was subject to the individual dreams of the children visiting it. That's why there was a wolfpup for Wendy, Indians for one of the boys, etc. What creature or landmark or place would appear in Neverland when you visited it?

Were I to take the second star to the right and head straight on 'til morning, I would find myself in a forest where a wolf in woad and buckthorn would step from its vellum and guide me to a glen where the hard, aching pits born in the heart of every sin and inhumanity are buried, only to be rubbed clean by the soil and washed open with the rain, until they erupt from the ground as triumphant magnolias, white blossoms perfuming the air with sweet aroma of forgiveness. Every night, birds with kaleidoscopic feathers of glass are drawn to these branches, the chromatic moonlight streaking the ground as the birds coo lullabies in every language of the world: Wolakota, Heiwa, Frieden, Salam, Irini, Siochain, Paz, Pingan, Peace.

10 - If you could have one of your poems set to music, which one would it be, and to what style of music would you have it set?

It would have to be "A Poet Woos His Love to √Čire" as a slow waltz performed by a lone soprano backed by a bodhran, fiddle, banjo, guitar, harp, uillean pipes, concertina, and maybe a whistle.