If you have been fortunate, you have gotten to watch Matt Mitchell's evolution as a poet—one that began with him producing generously. A high rate of work that was, when looked back on now with a full understanding of his catalog, building a sort of universe within which is thematic concerns and pleasures, and interests could operate. Though he operates in text form, it feels best for me to look at his work as that as of a musician. There are musicians, like, say, Johnny Cash. Those who produce a body of work that is filled with distinctly unique individual works, but each of those works sing into a similar set of investments. I have gotten comfortable calling this the Matt Mitchell Universe, also, for how it expands and how the writer expands alongside it. When I first met Matt, he was a young poet at Hiram College in Ohio, and one of the greatest joys has been being someone who has, up close, gotten to be witness to his risk taking, his evolution, and his bravery. It was a delight to talk to him about Vampire Burrito , out today, love poems, lineage, intersex identity, and reading out loud. * Hanif Abdurraqib : So I guess my first big question is the approach. What I loved about the book is that it's all these different modes of love poems, or at least it felt like that to me. My central interest was how you came to that, how you approached this desire for the love poem and all these different forms. And if you spent a lot of time kind of immersed in different shapes and sizes of love poems as you were approaching the book-making process. Matt Mitchell: The first book I spent really trying to figure out how to write a love poem that's not about another person, that's just about myself. And I think by the end of that book, I kind of figured out how to do that. But then I had a lot of poems left over that were about my partner at […]
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