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DiscoverVerse: Simina Banu + POP
In POP (Coach House Books), poet Simina Banu gives the traditional love poem the shakedown and in a flurry of stale cheetos and other junk finds space for herself within its lines. Simina joins us on the final day of DiscoverVerse (and Poetry Month!) to chat more about the collection, about finding that sweet line between too little and too much caffeine, and about music and the materiality of language.
Interview with Simina BanuAll Lit Up: POP is your debut book of poetry. What did you learn writing this collection?Simina Banu: That the poems will never feel finished! I was making changes right into the last stretch, and I’m extremely thankful to the entire Coach House team and their patience when it came to my changes and wild ideas, as well as their thoughtful insights and attention to detail.ALU: If you were a character in a Choose Your Own Adventure story, what kind of quest would you be on? What three things would you have with you on your journey?SB: The daily quest to strike that ever-elusive sweet spot between too-little and too-much caffeine. Armed with a cold brew, some green tea, and two generous tablespoons of ZzzQuil. ALU: Where do you draw inspiration from outside of poetry?SB: Music is a big one. I love the structure of it, the repetition, the rhythm, the crescendo, the closure. I try to incorporate those elements into the poems I write. ALU: Help us with a poetry prompt for our readers. Can you come up with a writing prompt for our readers to write their own poetry? SB: Whenever I have writer’s block, I love playing around with homophonic/visual translations. Try writing some rough ideas or feelings into a few stanzas, Google translate them into another language you may know (or want to know), and then retranslate them into your native language, incorporating homophonic and visual translation techniques. I find the process helps to bring the materiality of language to the foreground so as to not get stuck in the weeds of meaning.
A poem from POPBalloon-Living I wanted to find closure in a textor in revenge, daffodils from a cannon.What a missing thing, lyingon the condo hardwood after that day of bakingisolation into the brownies, listeningto our most sacred musicand feeling suspiciously alonefor a Hollywood romance.I had emptied my headto make space for the props,had lived held up by rags on helium.Yeah, I was unskilled at denialbut I really tried my best.Patiently, my friends sent me all the exposéson balloon real estate.I drank and drank and drank the cocktails. Check out the conveyor belt:years of tea parties,elitist theories,overpriced T-shirts,shattered glass,and two people, lost at sea.I enunciated from a foot away:the words bounced off every wall,searching for an earuntil eventually the echoesrendered them unintelligible.Closure comes at the Métropolis,too close to the amps to hear wordsbut not to sing along to them.I do not enunciate: who cares.Goodbye to the strings,I’ve lost my myths in an honest emotion.Three years lift and blow awayas I find my grip in the world again.
* * *Simina Banu is a writer interested in interrogating her own experience with technology, consumerism, pop culture and the poetics of (un)translation. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including filling Station, untethered, In/Words Magazine and the Feathertale Review. In 2015, words(on)pages press published her first chapbook, where art. Her second chapbook, Tomorrow, adagio, will be released in 2019 through above/ground press. POP is her first full-length collection of poetry. She lives and writes in Montreal.
* * *During the month of April, you can buy POP and any of our featured DiscoverVerse books for 20% off! PLUS: FREE shipping!Keep up with us all month on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #ALUdiscoververse. BONUS:Play our Choose Your Own Poetry game where YOU are the narrator! Choose from multiple paths on the way to one ultimate goal: visiting your local bookstore to browse poetry. As you move through the story you will find poetry books to collect in your tote bag. There are a total of 36 poetry books to discover across the various paths with 12 possible endings. Which poetry collections will you find on your path?Playing time: 1-2 minutes per path. To play, click the link below to start the download. DiscoverVerse: Choose Your Own Poetry Game