Matt Morris is the author of Nearing Narcoma, selected by Joy Harjo as winner of the Main Street Rag Poetry Award, and Walking in Chicago with a Suitcase in My Hand, published by Knut House Press. His poetry has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including recently FRiGG, Home Planet News, Lotus-eater, and Poetry South.
Matt's work appeared in Pond 52
Why do you write?
The long answer uses lots of Freudian terms and concludes with a passage from B.F. Skinner’s Beyond Freedom & Dignity, but essentially, it’s because literature makes the world a better place.
What other creative activities are you involved in?
Over the years, I’ve shed other creative outlets to concentrate on poetry. I used to play guitar, piano (badly), harmonica, and a little banjo—the size of a postage stamp--but I slowly whittled those down to guitar, which I haven’t picked up in nearly ten years. I also used to paint, but I haven’t since my mid-twenties, though I still sketch from time to time. Coloring books are fun.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I’m drawn to writers whose use of language is compelling or whose ideas make me think, including Wallace Stevens, James Tate, the New York School poets, Kenneth Fearing, William Carlos Williams, Virginia Woolf, Raymond Carver, Haruki Murakami, Bertrand Russell, Samuel Beckett, Pablo Neruda, Vladimir Mayakovsky, etc.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
The Muse, if you believe Sir Philip Sidney, admonishes the poet to look within the heart to write, but I find it more productive to put words on the page & see where they lead. If the heart wants to chime in, I welcome its contribution. All vital organs must pony up if the poem is to grow organically. My job is to give form to what Marianne Moore terms “the raw material of poetry in / all its rawness.” So, going full circle, I consider revision the heart of good writing. I discuss the process used in writing “Cypripedium,” which appears in Pond 52 of StC, on my blog.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
As scavengers, they’re not recommended dining, but carp make for good fishing since they are fighters, not unlike that scrappy titular radio station named for carp, WKRP in Cincinnati, a sitcom that launched the career of Loni Anderson, who wed Burt Reynolds, star of Deliverance, a movie based on the novel by former U.S. Poet Laureate James Dickey, an avid carp fisher, I’m guessing. Anyway, that’s what carp says to me.