The poem is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see--it is, rather, a light by which we may see--and what we see is life.

Robert Penn Warren

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Four Questions for Mary Lou Buschi

Mary Lou Buschi has been nominated for Best New Poets 2014 and was a finalist for the Best of Net Anthology, 2014. She received the Apospecimen Award from A Cappella Zoo for noteworthy contribution. Mary Lou has received fellowships from The Santa Fe Writer’s Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and The New York City Teaching Fellows. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines, such as Indiana Review, Rhino, Field, and Radar, among others. Her full-length poetry collection, Awful Baby, was published this year through Red Paint Hill Publishing. Mary Lou is a special education teacher in the Bronx. She lives in Piermont, New York, with Jeff (husband) and Nate (French Bulldog).

DS: Why do you write poetry?
MB: I write poetry because I can’t sing, play an instrument, or paint. I write poems to knit disparate images, to play with sound, ink up the white space or give white space the silence it deserves. I write poems to remember the ugly, the thorny, and the forgettable—to find that kid by the fence we all forgot about.

DS: What do you hope to find in poems written by other people?
MB: When I read other poets, I’m looking for an exact order of thought. The moment when you say, yes, exactly, that is what I’ve been after—a clearly wrought image or simple realization. From Larry Levis’ “The Spirit Says, You Are Nothing”:

A thin line of ants hesitate
Before running over it, 
And you think how
The thread of worry running through a human voice
Halts when a syllable freezes, then goes on,
Alone. …

DS: What are your current writing projects?
MB: I’m still listening to two lost girls who I believe to be a version of Vladimir and Estragon. I’m not sure where they are or why they keep speaking to me, but I’m on an adventure with them. Every time I think I have it all figured out, the girls introduce a new character or problem.  In some ways the project is addressing infertility, miscarriage, and the need to keep creating.

DS: What are your hopes for the future of poetry?
MB: I think poetry is right where it needs to be and it will continue to grow and respond to the world around us. I think there are more voices being heard across the world, across styles; genre-bending poets, poets willing to talk about race, gender, oppression, violence. There are also many poets devoting their personal time and passion to founding reading series, presses, and literary magazines. There is no sign of poetry disappearing. We need it in much the same way that we need fine art and music.

Mary Lou’s Books:


Mary Lou’s Recent Poems Online:


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