2016 Poetry Month: An Interview With Thylias Moss

Thylias Moss, Professor Emerita, author of 10 published books, two nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Limited Fork Theorist, and MacArthur Fellowship recipient, book #11, Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities' Red Dress Code forthcoming in September 2016. She is forking towards happiness.

Harold Bloom has called you profoundly original and a "hallucinatory force" as a poet. How did you feel when you first found out that he singled you out as one of his favorite contemporary poets?

I love being singled out; first and most important thing it proves my work had to be profound for him to notice it.


What better way to explain what I do than to make it outcome of some unnatural influence?
--allowing me to experience things in blazing full reality such as tetraquarks anointing me (although scientists have so far failed to prove they exist), but I know they do, and are the source of poetry...

Tetraquarks? Can you elaborate on what those are?

[Thylias Moss refers me to an article from Scientific American, which can be found here]

Tetraquark: particles as basis for all matter, that essential, special arrangement: what poetry is: re-arrangements of existences, fundamental particles in every atom. Exchanges of tetraquarks in interactions occurring at all times on every scale in every location --ah, apparently no existence without involvement of tetraquarks, no hugs and certainly no kisses, yet every action/interaction in which I've been involved

requires forms of kiss.

I feel as if a lot of poets avoid thinking about poetry scientifically. I think you've dissected it, analyzed it and put poetry through about every kind of experiment imaginable. What are some of the more unique experimentations that you've attempted with poetry?

kiss extends:

Poetry is science,

how anything behaves

what it does, why it does it
when, where?

what lightning looks like
feels like

that suck
of togetherness no matter

how long it lasts
or doesn't

tetraquarks of life after life

To know

it happened at all,
love stories of matter that matters:

Deirdre mattered,

my cousin in Tokyo Butter:

death, of course,
can not take all of anything,
ah, memory!
--every interaction has memory!-- fossils are memories, you know--
I continue to look
for whatever remains of
her continued profound existence:

she inhabits

poetry of every now, what every moment becomes:


every fluff of cotton, every seed decibel of thunder:

leaf vein pocket
I looked for her, that book, my search --

Cover: 40X USB microscope scan of her casket rose

I still look and find even more,
spilling into a next book (and a next)

science updates as often as necessary:
as soon as something has proof,

however temporary, proof now
not necessarily proof forever

a search for what still matters, and how it matters now!

In "Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities' Red Dress Code"

written in its own "now" --there are kiss-systems of existence, kiss-systems of discovery, kiss-systems of my own myopia, my own nearsightedness, ability to see a little clearly only what is close, only

what investigation exposes, reveals:

in "Tokyo Butter" there was a magnificent culture of myopia --but there was more to magnificence when working on "Wannabe"

exposure of what's treasured deep enough to mesmerize:

it's "Higginson" that matters in a now of "Wannabe"
--as foolish as that may be, science will reveal--

"Higginson Matters in Magnificent Culture of Myopia"--my signature poem Now:
I kiss this poem; am locked up
with this poem. there is suction within this poem

poem kisses me and I kiss it now

a precarious position
-ing of its lips and my own

Your originality is truly on display in that poem from your last book, Tokyo Butter. How have you changed as a poet since your first book from 1983, Hosiery Seams on a Bowlegged Woman?

My notice is quite different. What tends to stand out. More science... You know that I didn't self-identify as poet; I was merely an arranger, re-arranger... I wrote essays: "Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler" is really a collection of essays placed in spaces in ways to acknowledge interactions being discovered. Placing things on a "page" which can be anywhere or anything, since "page" is host of event whatever, wherever that is or can be --even separated by miles, and years--I wasn't thinking like that at first...

I accepted definitions that others had given me...

Took me all those years since Hosiery Seams in 1983 to arrive in a location where I continue to push love in limited fork to a highest high of what forking can achieve --if one is brave enough to "try" --one must be willing to "fail" --and yet reject most ideas about failure, accepting it as opportunity to connect and change entities connecting.

Indeed, I insist on authenticity to a self that also changes, ultimately the work, and my own self-definition as "maker" and "poam" (Product[s] of Act[s] of Making) (see 4orkology.com) as what is made (instead of "poem" --too well understood many think--) as part of a theory I developed that still changes my life and approaches to making: "Limited Fork Theory" (4orkology) and 4orked) and "The Midhudson Taffy Company" (all about a taffy, a flexibility of interacting --we are not alone on this planet; everything is shared! --humans have no special privilege).

My forthcoming book Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities' Red Dress Code, (September 2016) contains something I recall "swearing" I'd avoid: interacting with works of another poet: New section's collaborations with another poet, the "Higginson" poems especially: "Higginson Matters" --you can experience me reading this poem online. Just look for it.

Each participant leaves something, and each participant takes something away, and through such exchanges, participants change, leaving something different in the next interaction --with anything --"real" or "imagined"-- for "imagination" is a "real" location...

Hope that this is making sense.

I got my ideas for limited fork when I went to the Quality 16 Cinema and noticed the credits intently, the way the words were moving, and I was determined that words need not be so fixed, and didn't have to be only "words" --things move, life moves... I want more senses involved! -- if a poam can't be read, maybe it can be heard, sung, shouted, signed, maybe touched, as in Braille, for instance, and may be smelled (need to explore more olfactory possibilities; I did pop popcorn and cooked bacon [felt grease popping also, embraced my arms] during an installation). Certainly "felt." But no way to get "everything" --and who knows what "everything" is? --keeps changing --as it should.

I leave it to critics to determine where "Wannabe" places me.