A Cumulative Interview with Sonya Taaffe


1 - What is your favourite fruit?

The clementine, on which I subsist, by the crateful, during the winter months.

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

By the laws of free association, the word 'cherry' causes me to think of Seamus Heaney's 'The Haw Lantern.' The fruit in that instance is cherry-like only in that it is small and round and red, but it is the poem that first drew me to his work; I recommend it highly. Otherwise, I think of the riddle song my mother used to sing me to sleep with: 'I Gave My Love A Cherry.'

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

One that needs its story to be told.

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

For the first time, Peter Gould's Write Naked, Paul Muldoon's Horse Latitudes, and Edward Rowe Snow's Storms and Shipwrecks of New England; re-reading, Patricia McKillip's Riddle-Master, Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History, and Pamela F. Service's Winter of Magic's Return and Tomorrow's Magic.

5 - What's your favourite kind of weather?

My favorite kind of weather is anywhere by the ocean, anywhere leaves fall in autumn. I am not designed for hot climates. The sun makes me want to sleep.

6 - Do you believe in ghosts?

I believe in time and memories, which are ghosts and stranger things.

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

I like to believe that in the course of a poetry cage-match between Sappho and William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Anakreon would take one look at each other and sneak out to the nearest bar, to write sonnets and skolia to one another's faces.

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

I would eschew sarcastic remarks about the present state of American politics and give the Instrumentality of Mankind (Cordwainer Smith, Norstrilia et alia) a shot.

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?

A drowned forest, inhabited by dryads of kelp.

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?

Right now it would be "The Road to Volodny (Partisan Song)" but it would need to be translated back into its original language and there is no one left in this world who speaks it anymore.