The Volta: Friday Feature

Western Practice by Stephen Motika. Alice James Books, 2012.

cover of Western Practice

First Book Questionnaire: Stephen Motika | February 8, 2013.

1. Where are you now?

Brooklyn, New York.

2. What are you working on and what have you got coming out?

I’m working, albeit slowly, on a second book, tentatively titled “Artist’s Artist.” It’s still very much in process, so a lot is in flux, but so far the poems engage death, AIDS, sex, the creative process, and coming to terms with what’s been lost. So, an elegiac work.

3. Where do you write?

I write where and when I can. I don’t have a studio or designated office or work space. I recently returned from a residency at a writer’s colony, where I wrote more than I have written in a long while. The rest of the time, I do my best to sit down and get to work when I feel I have something to say.

4. What’s the last best thing you’ve read?

The last best thing I’ve read: Aaron Shurin’s Involuntary Lyrics, Lisa Robertson’s Nilling, Stacy Doris’ Fledge: A Phenomenology of Spirit, sections of Robert Duncan’s Ground Work, a lot of the work in The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral edited by Joshua Corey and G. C. Waldrep, and Our Aesthetic Categories by Sianne Ngai.

5. What journals, poets, presses have you discovered lately?

Journals: Hyperallergic, Sea Ranch, and Acts.

Poets: CJ Martin, Frances Jaffer, CM Burroughs, Camille Guthrie, and Henry Vaughan.

Presses: Compline, Steerage Press, Scrambler Books, Gold Wake Press, Aztlan Libre Press, and Sherman Asher.

6. Care to share any distractions / diversions?

Thinking lots about translation and wondering how/why I do/don’t fit into its project. Russia and Iceland and travel.

7. What are you looking forward to?

Reading lots of Denise Levertov this winter and participating in and attending the Ecopoetics Conference at UC Berkeley in February 2013. Also the Mira Schendel retrospective at Tate Modern in Fall 2013.

* * *

image of Stephen Motika

Stephen Motika was born in Santa Monica, California. He is the editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems Of Leland Hickman (Nightboat & Otis Books/Seismicity, 2009) and the author of the poetry chapbook, Arrival and at Mono (Sona Books, 2007). His articles and poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, BOMB, The Brooklyn Review, ELEVEN ELEVEN, The Poetry Project Newsletter, among other publications. His collaboration with artist Dianna Frid, “The Field,” was on view at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2003. A 2010-2011 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Resident, he is the program director at Poets House and the publisher of Nightboat Books. Western Practice (Alice James Books, 2012) is his debut collection.