Interviews and guest posts from the writers and artists of Versal 10. This week, we hear from poet Candy Shue, a poet and reviewer who can be heard online on Poet as Radio. A recent recipient of a Kundiman Fellowship, she holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Spiral Orb, Eratio, The Collagist, EOAGH, Switchback, Washington Square, and recently in Drunken Boat and the current issue of Mead Magazine. Right now Candy is putting together a chapbook titled "Whiskey, Water, and White Dwarves", which is looking for a home!
Have you been to Amsterdam? What did you do while you were here? If you've not been yet, what do you think you'd do in our fair town?
Yes--I loved taking the trams to the outdoor markets and perusing the bookstores! I found a first British edition of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast in a secondhand bookshop, which was exciting.
What is the first creative thing you ever did?
When I was four, I turned my baby quilt into a magic carpet and sailed into the wild blue yonder. On one adventure, I journeyed into the night of the forest (my bedroom closet) where I fell asleep and missed dinner.
What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you about being a writer?
People have actually been really great about it. I was filling out a medical form once and under “Occupation,” I decided to write “Poet”--the first time I had ever declared it officially. My doctor looked at the chart and said, “You’re a poet? That’s wonderful!” and told me about some Italian poetry he’d read, since he was Italian. It surprises people when you tell them you’re a poet.
If you were an angle, what kind of angle would you be?
I’d be an angle fish. I mean an angel fish. An angel angler. An angle wrangler. I’m sometimes acute and often obtuse, but I’m not a right angle.
If you could meet a writer from the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries, who would it be? And what would you talk about?
If I could go back to the 9th century, I’d like to hang out with Hanshan, the Chinese hermit poet. He wrote on nature--bamboo, stones, wood, cliffs and even people’s houses. I expect we wouldn’t talk very much, but that would be ok. For a later era, I’d choose the Japanese Zen Poet Monk, Ikkyu. I think he’d get a kick out of hearing how his character keeps popping up in Japanese anime and manga.
Tell us something few people know about you.
I grew up swimming and playing water polo, so I spent a lot of time in pools! The rhythm of swimming is something that I feel when I’m writing poetry, and I’m attracted to the imagery and dynamics of water in my work.
Other than Versal (which has clearly been awesome), what's one great place you've been published?
Versal has been awesome! I was also happy to have my poem “Love Is a Weather of Body” hyperlinked to the other poems in the journal Spiral Orb Four. And I’m looking forward to have poems in Drunken Boat’s upcoming issue on Hypnopoetics.
Why did you send work to Versal? Be honest.
I was introduced to Versal when I was printing a poetry chapbook at the San Francisco Center for the Book. The SFCB is a fantastic place--they have drawers and drawers of old metal type and three vintage Vandercook printing presses. I was drawn to Versal’s crisp design, especially the contrast between the bold title type (DIN1451 Engschrift) and the seriphed body type (Bauer Bodoni). I loved the crispness of the writing as well, so I was excited when my poems were accepted for the journal.
What has lasted you ten years?
I have an 11-year old station wagon, but I’m not sure it counts because I had to replace the engine a few years ago when it died as I was driving up the Grapevine (in California) in 113 degree heat. Books last, though! I was just re-reading my copy of W.S. Merwin’s The Miner’s Pale Children. Here’s the first line from his story, “Ends”: “When a shoelace breaks during use the ends do not always indulge at once in their new-found liberty.” I love that.
Tell us what you're working on right now.
I recently finished a syllabus for a poetry workshop and now I’m writing poems and working on book reviews for Poet As Radio. I’m doing a series of poems on hypnogogia, which is the transitional state between being awake and asleep.