interview series

Interview Series – S Cearley

 When technology, a machine, adds unintended material in between the creator and its work, then it’s said to have “glitches.” But doing the reverse, where a person adds notes of humanity and chaos between a machine and its output, has no equivalent name.

When / why did you start writing poetry? – answers in adjectives

outraged, heartbroken, outbroken, heartraged, outhearted, beige cubicular tedium

How do you write a poem? – answer in five verbs.

program, design, obfuscate, retool, redesign

What is your definition of what experimental poetry is?

How-to manuals without the how or to.

Have you done many interviews before?

I don’t know what many is. I’ve done four interviews about experimental poetry and how I do it, three of those have been published. Beyond those four there’s also this one.

Do you find them repetitive?

No, the questions have always been different.


Yes, now that you mention it.



What’s a favorite snack you like when poet-ing?

None. I need both hands.

What are you kinda obsessed by?

Organizational structures that, by their overwhelming complexity, have an answer for any presented problem. Whether or not that answer is correct. Occultism, for instance, always finds new ways of creating a hierarchical structure to encompass any solution. If the main solution isn’t true, or correct, there’s always a sub-solution buried in other competing rules within the ‘occultery’ that will pick up the slack and “correctly” answer the question.

Also western European life between roughly 1880 and 1910. And by extension, naturalist literature. And various herbal mashes steeped in alcohol, like fernet and absinthe.

Do you tell your social circle about your poet-ing?

I don’t have a social circle that isn’t based on it, I don’t think.

How do you rebel?

By being curiouser than my poems.

Hiding in plain sight.

Tell me a literary / science fact or joke, please.

Literary fact: Miller Williams, in running the University of Arkansas Press, regularly complained about printing calendars. “I don’t understand them, but they’re very profitable, so we publish them” he told my class once.

Science fact: There are MRI machines that are the size of a deck of cards and can be done in-office like getting a mole removed. I’ve worked on them. Nobody wants to build them, so they can’t go through FDA testing, so nobody wants to invest in them, so they aren’t on the market, so you still have to go into a giant room and get passed through a massive donut to get an MRI.

What’s your fav colour, poet, snack. (this is your pen name!)

Purple Jandl TBD

S Cearley lives 8 inches above a river and tricks a computer into making poetry when it thinks it is making art.

By Michelle Moloney King

Artist. Poetish.