Ariana Reines. What can I say? If she were a band, I’d follow her around like a Deadhead. I would name a beef-flavored ice cream after her. But that would probably freak her out, so instead, here are some links to her awesomeness online so you can see for yourself.
The poet Thomas Moore interviewed her on his blog in 2007, after her book The Cow was published by Fence Books. Moore says, “To refer to The Cow, as poetry, seems rather reductive – it feels more like a living creature. Using the cold, clinical language of the abattoir, mixed with a fragmented cut-up of various characters – Reines has sculpted a multi-faceted yet cohesive voice that forces the reader into avenues of sex, scat and violence. Words don’t do this thing justice.” Here, Reines speaks about the freedom from self-consciousness that so inspired me in her work:
I want to say something about bad writing. I’m proud of my bad writing. Everyone is so intelligent lately, and stylish. Fucking great. I am proud of Philip Guston’s bad painting, I am proud of Baudelaire’s mamma’s boy goo goo misery. Sometimes the lurid or shitty means having a heart, which’s something you have to try to have. Excellence nowadays is too general and available to be worth prizing: I am interested in people who have to find strange and horrible ways to just get from point a to point b.
This hour-long video shows Ariana reading at the Holloway Series in Poetry, UC Berkeley, in April 2008:
And this half-hour radio program was first broadcast on KCRW’s “Bookworm” program, also last April.