Terpischore’s Atrium with Howie Good

Welcome to Terspischore’s Atrium, where the Hermeneutic Chaos editors find delight in the elfin task of  confronting their contributing authors with some really tough questions.

Today Aaron Wiegert will interview Howie Good, whose contributed some outstanding poems to our inaugural issue. Do read them, and then come back to enjoy this interview.

1. What’s a seed text and how do you use it in your work?

A seed text works in a couple possible ways. I use it sometimes as a prompt or provocation. Other times I subject it to razor and scalpel to create the literary equivalent of a collage.

2. Who is your favorite religious author and why?

I don’t think the poems are religious in a conventional sense. I am not a religious person, though I do strive to be an ethical one. As for who my favorite “religious” author is, I don’t have one. All poets are religious in that we define religion as the belief in something larger than oneself, even if that something is nothingness.

3. In Anniversary of the Plague Year you mention “50,000 YouTube views”. Is this the apocalyptic equivalent of a viral hit?

I was thinking about living in a society of the spectacle when I wrote that. Everyone is connected, but so few achieve real significant contact.

4. Having taught at SUNY and he being an alum, what’s your favorite John Turturro film?

“The Big Lebowski,” of course.

5. What advice do you have for a student majoring in journalism?

Switch majors.

6. “Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living” is the Flaubert quote under the header of your website. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I read “Catcher in the Rye.” I was thirteen or fourteen.

7. In one sentence, what makes tragic literature? What makes comic literature?

Suffering makes for both, but in comedy the universe is somewhat forgiving. In tragedy the universe is relentless.

8. How important is it for a writer, artist, creative person to have a college education in the 21st century?

It’s more important to have something to say and the ability and will to get it said. If college helps one do that — to be creative — it’s helpful. If it doesn’t, it isn’t.


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