RBN: Let’s jump right in! How important is naming something (like genre) to you – and why?
BAF: For me, naming the short pieces that I was writing “micro-memoirs” gave me permission to keep writing them. Prior to that, I was doing these little scribblings in my notebook, and while I was entertaining myself, I kept waiting for something to add up to something. My scribblings didn’t look or feel like poems, or essays, or parts or a novel, so I felt anxious. When I came up with the name, I was able to relax into the possibilities of the form, simply because it existed. Rather circular and self-serving, but useful: they existed because I named them, and because I named them, they existed.
RBN: What is the value of fluidity in your work and/or your process? What is the value of rigidity?
BAF: Fluidity is the goal; staying in the fluid place is the challenge and discipline, for writers and yogis and seekers. The accumulation of expertise should not lead one, I feel, to act the expert. Beginner’s brow is my favorite look. It goes with everything.
RBN: Do you have a favorite prompt or practice to recommend – to help poets move into something more hybrid? Or for writers to write weird?
BAF: Sometimes I like to read aloud the index of first lines in the back of giant tombstone anthologies, like Norton’s, and read not for meaning but just to get a little drunkish on vowels and consonants. Mouth-feel, the food scientists call it.
RBN: How do you come up with such great titles for such short pieces?
BAF: In short pieces, the titles are super important. They simply make up a great percentage of the meaning because they make up a greater percentage of the word count. They have to be load bearing.
RBN: Please complete this analogy – Micro-memoir : poetry :: __________ : __________.
BAF: Turducken : duck