On Thursday 6th Octoberererererer 2022, I slid into poet Stefan Mohamed’s DMs and conducted the following interview:
scott manley hadley in italics on the left
Stefan Mohamed in bold on the right
Heyhey do you want to do a tiny tiny DM interview for my blog to promote your new book?
hallo! cool yes that sounds good to me, cheers 🙂
Ok, here we go. Your new book is called ‘farewell tour’. Where are you going?
To the top, baby!
But in all seriousness, nowhere.
The ‘farewell’ is not a farewell to me, and the ‘tour’ is not mine – the book is a farewell tour around a collapsing, distressed, psychologically diseased country that’s well past its use-by-date. It is, of course, a work of pure fiction.
I am yet to read it. Is it good? As in, does it do what you wanted it to do? Are you happy with how it’s turned out? How does the final text make *you* feel? This is one question asked in several different ways, thank you.
It is good, yes. You should read it.
I’m actually very happy with how it turned out, which is nice. Or at least I am currently, I’ll probably turn against it eventually. But for now, I’m satisfied – I had a pretty clear idea from the beginning about what I wanted the project to be, a sort of concept collection, a distillation of chaos and confusion and rage and gallows humour, channelled into a blackly comic, farcical journey around a bizarre and deranged country. And I feel like the final product achieves those ends.
Why poetry? As in, why poetry rather than prose/music/film/play /VR/AR/app-based experience etc etc etc???
My background is more in prose than poetry, and there’s probably a serviceable version of this book in a more traditional novel form. My fiction background probably comes across in the collection to be honest, there’s a definite sense of narrative to Farewell Tour, plus some prose poems that blur the lines further.
But I think a novel version of the book would need to explain itself in a way that poetry doesn’t have to. Poetry is a much more elastic medium to be working in, it lets you bounce between registers, voices and forms in a way that’s really fun and freeing. The narrative, the story, the themes, can all be kind of implied, left ambiguous. Obviously novels can be like that too, but there’s a particular freedom with poetry that allows you to tell e.g. political stories in a way that’s not super obvious and didactic.
I agree, poetry is (can be? should be?) looser. Also, I think it can be easier to find the right audience. It might be smaller, but the poetry world tends to be less sneery than the world of prose.
Are you your own favourite poet? If not, why not? If you do not have a favourite poet, would you like one?
As a champion of equality, and a campaigner for a non-hierarchical utopia, I don’t have a “favourite” anything. Everyone and everything is the same to me.
Thank you for your honesty, as a human this makes me feel valued. If only more people thought like that!
Anything else you would like to share with the hip, trendy readers of http://TriumphoftheNow.com (and any squares reading this by mistake)???
Don’t trust poets.
Even you, saying that, then?
Farewell Tour is available now from Verve Poetry Press
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