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"Prologue: A Conversation with Diane Wakoski About 'Bay of Angels' and Crashing Through Mirrors" --with Gary Corseri

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GC: Bay of Angels, the title of your newest book of poems--your 20th!-- is the English translation of Jaque Demy's film noir, "La Baie des Anges," starring Jean Moreau (fetchingly, cinematically pictured on the cover of your book).  In your Intro you write that many of your poems in Angels are about "finding solace in looking at something with a different perspective."  I found this one of the most interesting aspects of Angels, this flowing between worlds, trying on different identities.  You weave movie "realities" with your personal life--lives, really.  (And vice versa!)  Fantasies about screen lovers like Jean Paul Belmondo merge with blood and flesh highschool boyfriends met again after 50 years! 

Writers/poets used to allude to other writers; Angels is allusive to films--actors like Belmondo and Moreau and directors like Orson Wells, Roman Polansky, Jacque Demy and Woody Allen.  This opens another cartography for poetry.  What other poets can you name who have mined this modern common ground?  Do you see yourself doing more mining here?  Would you recommend that students explore these veins of gold?

 DW: I, personally, don't really know of such poets, though I suppose almost every contemporary poet has at least one poem about film.  

I started writing poems using film in the Archaeology series in the "90s.   One of my favorite poems, "Beauty and the Beast," about the Cocteau film, La Belle et La Bete, can be found online, read by a Canadian actor, accompanied by stills from the black and white film. " I hope when a poet writes a movie poem, it is a real poem, not just a prose description of a movie!  

GC: I especially liked the ending of your poem, "La Femme Nikita," alluding to the 1990 French film.  I like it because it is contradictory--gives me different insights into the (secret) world of women, "dominant-submissive relationships," etc.:

 "" Are you surprised that

I have always wanted an imprisoning world?

One that needed me enough to own me,

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and that I have wanted being owned to


be an adventure?  Are you surprised that

I have found myself wishing to be La Femme Nikita,

not because she's free or strong, but

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she is bound,

she's Promethean,

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Gary Corseri has published & posted his work at hundreds of venues worldwide, including Op Ed News, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, DissidentVoice, L.A. (and Hollywood--) Progressive. He has been a professor in the US & Japan, has (more...)

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Accessible, meaningful, informative, insightful an... by Gary Corseri on Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013 at 7:16:45 PM
Thanks for this.... by Kevin Tully on Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 9:14:44 AM