Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 56

Interview: Peter LaBerge What do you want to accomplish with your poetry? PL: I’m instinctually interested in coming to understand myself (as in my body, my identity, etc.) and finding my place in the order of things. Ironically, I think placing myself in situations that are dissimilar to the personal reality of my day-to-day experience has proved most effective in achieving this goal. That is, when I write about Philadelphia or my hometown in Connecticut (the two places I’ve called home for extended periods of time) I find myself writing into the familiar, rather than into revelation. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest writing away from what one knows. I think that’s a very dangerous—if not overtly careless—game in a world with such profound intersectionality and hierarchies of oppression. I simply mean that I have to uproot myself and locate myself outside of my usual, familiar context in order to truly see myself. In other words: same body, same person, different context. As editor of Adroit Journal, how does your process as an editor differ from your process as a writer? In more ways than not, I’d say! I suppose, as an editor, one doesn’t have to be open to compelling work outside of a governing aesthetic, though increasingly that’s how I’m running my editorial ship. Sometimes, I think the energy and urgency of necessary work— matters of aesthetic aside—is most compelling, and thus lands in the issue over work that feels ‘right up our alley’ as it were. This doesn’t necessarily apply to my own work, though. I definitely experiment and change it up here and there—I’d hate for my poetry to feel stale!—but I see an aesthetic spine that orients all, or at least most, of my work. I think that’s natural, though. Perhaps healthy, even. 56