All the latest news, ideas, and opinions from Denver's Independent Literary Center: lighthousewriters.org
by Kate Barrett
It seems like lately I hear the same conversation happening around Lighthouse all the time—everyone is talking about how fast we’re growing. It used to be that Lighthouse could only offer so many classes taught by a few regular faculty members. Now we have the privilege of working with a faculty of more than 70 brilliant, inspiring, dedicated instructors, and we’re adding new people all the time! One of the latest literary superstars to start teaching new classes is Christopher Kondrich, a lovely poet and the editor-in-chief of Tupelo Quarterly. We gave him a lightning quick interview to help introduce him to the Lighthouse community. It’s worth the read just for the book recommendations!
What are you currently working on?
I’m almost done with a new manuscript called Valuing. There are just a few last threads I need to pull on, but, then again, I always tend to find other threads attached to the ones that I pull. This is a good problem to have. Don’t you wish all your problems could be good ones? In any case, the last section of the manuscript feels a little heavy, so I’m looking to the “Lightness” and “Quickness” chapters of Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium for counsel.
What is your worst habit?
Doing work before the real work of poem-writing. I’ve always been the kind of writer that has to get some emailing or grading in before settling down into writing mode. I rationalize it as clearing the deck (of my mind), but, as we know, there will always be more emailing or grading to do. This habit, however well-intentioned, is a form of procrastination. If I value writing poems the most, why do I do it last?
What would you be if you weren’t a writer?
I can be a bit of an armchair-protestor. I sit and click away at petitions and emails to my congressperson, but I fantasize about actually doing something, perhaps as a conservationist for the Nature Conservancy toiling to keep an acre of rainforest out of the grimy hands of capitalism. Also, I think I’d make an awesome ornithologist. Now, if I could only get myself out of bed early enough.
Who is the best author no one knows about? What book of theirs should people read and why?
I don’t understand why more people aren’t reading Padgett Powell. The Interrogative Mood, a novel comprised entirely of questions, is more compelling and insightful than much of the more serious fiction (whatever that means) being published these days. Hermann Broch’s The Death of Virgil is so beautifully written, I can’t stand it. I feel like it’s thought of as a poet’s novel, but it should be thought of as a human being’s novel. I love (love) Liz Waldner’s A Point is That Which Has No Part – poems that alight new parts of my brain every time I read them. I mean, there’s this, from “The Alchemist’s Misfortune:” “I’ve made myself not-matter.” That hyphen is incredible!
Chris will be teaching the 8-Week Intro to Poetry Workshop starting March 25. Stayed tuned here for more lightning interviews with new instructors joining us in the spring!
Kate Barrett is Lighthouse’s intrepid Program Coordinator. Kate hails from Denver and has a degree in Creative Writing from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She writes short fiction and dabbles in poetry when she’s feeling bold.