Saturday, August 21, 2010

10 questions for AMY BERKOWITZ

making granola

1. What is your favorite weather?

Hot weather! Shorts weather. Everyone looks great in shorts.

2. What is the best book you've read this year?

Amy Hempel’s collected stories. I used to read a lot of fiction (Lorrie Moore was a favorite) and then I didn’t read fiction for a long time, and then when I had to teach a combined poetry and fiction section of creative writing last year, I came back to fiction. And there was Amy Hempel, and her stories were so different than the other short stories I was reading. I actually haven’t finished the book yet because it was my friend Miriam’s copy and I had to give it back to her. It’s nice to know I have more of it left to read.

3. What writer's work do you constantly return to?

Richard Brautigan. My dad gave me all his old Richard Brautigan books when I was a teenager, these old pocket paperbacks from the 70s with candy-colored covers and those mysterious sexy women posed in front of civic architecture, and I fucking loved them. I’ve read them to death. All their spines are cracked and the pages are crumbling but I keep reading them over and over. I realize I should be trying to explain WHY I like Brautigan so much and not just telling you how nice the old books are, but I don’t know where to begin! His poems and novels are both good. Revenge of the Lawn is maybe the best place to start; it’s short stories, but the stories feel a lot like prose poems. My dad marked his favorite stories in the table of contents. “I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone” is one of his favorites, and one of my favorites, too.

4. What non-literary interests do you keep?

Baking and cooking. Listening to music. Bike riding. Road tripping. I just got my driver’s license! I am so excited about it. Every time I take out my wallet I look at my license. (I am 26).

5. what is your favorite object?

I guess it’s my teapot. I never had a teapot until this year. I got it at a flea market in Ann Arbor and it has yellow and red chickens painted on it. I have a Beehouse coffee drip thing, and it’s such an elegant way to make coffee, compared to a coffeemaker.

6. What places/ locations have you called home?

New York City, Somerville Massachusetts, Brooklyn (East Williamsburg, then Prospect Heights, then a nicer area of Prospect Heights, then Bushwick), Ann Arbor, Oakland.

7. If you could be an artist of another form (besides poetry), what would it be? / If you are an artist of another form, what is it?

I’ve been in a twee pop band in my imagination for 6 or 7 years now.

8. Do you have a favorite color?


9. Where is your favorite place to write a poem?

In bed or in a coffee shop. That’s a pretty boring answer.

10. What surprising subjects have you delved into? (academically, socially, emotionally, physically, or any-which-way you please)

Physically: in Ann Arbor, I went to a Cardio Karate class at the Y, which was consistently the highlight of my week. Punching and kicking, and some funny dance moves that wouldn’t really help you in a fight at all. And a soundtrack that included “Better Off Alone” and “I Gotta Feeling” and “Shimmy Shake.” I moved to California a few days ago and I miss it already.