CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: So, what’s been doin’, Beniamino?
Benjamin: Lots of little bits and pieces, really, CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP. Nothing spectacularly WordPress-worthy.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: That’s ok. Tell the good people your boring minutiae anyway.
Benjamin: Alright. What do you want me to talk about?
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: Don’t you mean “about what do you want me to talk?”
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: Have you read any decent poetry lately?
Benjamin: I have, actually. I needed to find something that was of a reasonably literary quality, but could be understood by my Year 5/6 class at school for a recent unit of study. I stumbled upon a poem by Ted Kooser in a text book. It’s called Abandoned Farmhouse. It really generated some fantastic discussion amongst the kids and I ended up buying a couple of Kooser’s collections. His work is very clear and accessible, but withstands deeper reading.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: Great. What else have you been reading in the way of verse?
Benjamin: Sarah Holland-Batt’s ‘The Hazards’. A really beautiful collection. I had to review it for an online journal (which I will link to in a new post when it is published), but in the end, it felt like reading for sheer pleasure.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: I’ve seen that book around. Maybe I’ll check it out.
Benjamin: You really should. Also, I’ve been listening to a lot of poetry through the medium of the podcast. There are so many great poetry-related programs out there online these days. I love cueing up an episode most nights before I go to sleep.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: How about your own writing? How’s that going.
Benjamin: During school terms, I really can’t/don’t write much at all. I’m definitely a mono-tasker. I’m taking a bit of leave at the end of this term and I’ll use it to extend my usual holiday writing period. There’s a little place I’m going to visit in the Blue Mountains for the express purpose of writing. It should be fantastic. I can’t wait.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: What are you planning on working on while you’re there?
Benjamin: Don’t you mean, “on what are you planning to work while you’re away?”
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: That’s what I said.
Benjamin: I don’t think you did. [Ed. He didn’t.] I’ve been working on a project for quite a while now that’s slowly beginning to resemble my second book. It’s a verse novel based on true events.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: What’s it like to write a verse novel? Much different from a collection of miscellaneous poetry?
Benjamin: Well, it is a bit different. I’ve never really written so many poems about the one topic, let alone involveng the one protagonist. Each poem needs to make up a vital part of the entire narrative, but also stand convincingly alone. It’s a challenge, but I’m finding it quite rewarding. Another difference, given that the work is based on actual events, is the amount of research involved. That’s not something I’d otherwise do much of.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: I’m sure you mean “that’s not something of which you’d otherwise much do.”
Benjamin: Of course.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: Anything exciting coming up for you?
Benjamin: Yes! I’ll be visiting Brisbane next weekend for the launch of my mate Stuart Barnes’s debut collection Glasshouses. He won last year’s Thomas Shapcott Prize for Poetry and his book is finally being unleashed upon the public during the 2016 Queensland Poetry Festival. I’m looking forward to hearing him read and catching up with him. It’s been a while. The festival program looks wonderful, too.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: Give Stuart my regards and grab a copy of the collection for me.
Benjamin: Sure thing. Will do.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: So, this largely unsuccessful contrivance of an interview has probably dragged on long enough, yeah?
Benjamin: I think so. Let’s slink away and pretend it never happened.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: Gladly. Thanks for pretending to speak/type with me, poet Benjamin Dodds.
Benjamin: Thanks for pretending to interview me, CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP.
CIPABTCOBIIOTFTBP: It’s been a pretend pleasure.
*Conveniently Imagined Persona Allowing Benjamin the Conceit of Being Interviewed in Order to Frame this Blog Post