Sunday Feb 23

Molotkov-Poetry A. Molotkov is a writer, composer, filmmaker and visual artist. Although he has been writing fiction and poetry for over 25 years, his more recent involvement with other art forms allows him to approach the creative process from various angles, with individual parts contributing to a greater whole. Molotkov is the author of several novels, short story and poetry collections and the winner of the 2008 E. M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award for his short story “Round Trip”, which was nominated for a Pushcart. His poem “Say Me with a Dry Leaf” was shortlisted in the 2010 Aquillrelle poetry contest.  His story “The Most Wonderful White Stockings” received an honorary mention in the Glimmer Train August 2010 contest.  Molotkov’s other fiction and poetry has appeared in a variety of publications, both in print and online.  In February 2010, A. Molotkov spearheaded a one-hour poetry and music performance “Love Outlives Us” presented by the Show and Tell Gallery and repeated on KBOO in June.
A. Molotkov Interview, with Nicelle Davis
I loved how the poems you submitted to Connotation Press can be read as a collection; each poem seems to reference the next to unravel a larger narrative. Was this intentional or a happy accident? Would you please say a few words about the role intention and accident play in the making of a poem?
Thank you for your kind assessment.  I think it was more of a happy accident, in this case.  At the same time, it could be said that any poet’s work revolves around homogenous topics, repeating concerns, recurring tropes. To a degree, these details evolve as a poet goes through life. The poetry in this selection is from the same year or so, which may have contributed to a greater consistency.  This work is consolidated in my collection “Say Me with a Dry Leaf,” for which I am currently seeking a publisher.
In general, my own experience points to a tremendous part accident plays in literary creation.  When I start writing, it’s very rare that I have the whole work in mind, be it a poem or a novel.  In a poem, usually a line occurs to me, and I write it down, waiting for the next line to follow.  By the time the poem is done, I am as surprised by it as any reader might be (if I succeeded at making it a good one).  In that sense, one might say a poem is a guided series of accidents.  I make my way through a poem by guiding my intuition and being guided by it.

In your poem “The Last Gift” you write about memory. In what ways are poems like memories? In what ways are poems nothing like memories?
That’s an interesting and witty question to ask, and I will try to do it justice.  I suppose memories and poems are alike in that they capture a moment, a feeling, a thought, a story, a conversation.  They create a reference point in our perception of life in its continuity.  They confirm that something happened, in a world where most things that might happen do not.
Poems are different from memories in that they transcend the individual realm.  They become highly customizable hyper-memories with volunteer subscription.  Any reader that is aligned in tune with the poem may embrace it as a part of their own experience, interpret it in their own specific way relevant to their circumstances.  Another way to put it is: poetry is part of the collective memory of the humankind.

I enjoy how the shape of your poems enacts the subject. How do you know when to break a line, how did you learn to sculpt words?
Thank you.  Most decisions such as line breaks are intuitive, based on my perception of how the poem wants to lie on the page and to sound in the reader’s mind.  Because I usually don't use punctuation in my poetry, I rely on line breaks to make sentence structure easier for the reader.  I don’t really sculpt the words, in a visual sense – that’s not my intention.  I suspect that my choice to center the poem on the page causes an appealing look which might seem more thought-out than it is.  These are simply centered lines.  They are centered because I don't see any reason to left-align poetry.  Doing so is just a convention that doesn't make any tangible sense.

What new poetic projects are you currently working on?
Last month I completed a chapbook-sized cycle of poems, “The Melting Hourglass”.  I think of it as a novel in 1,200 words – I had much fun running it by my two writers’ groups (The Guttery, and The Moonlit Poetry Caravan,  Some friends have pointed out that in many ways, this work represents a summary of my poetic pursuits up to now.  I’m excited about it.  For the moment, I’m not planning another ambitious poetic project yet, focusing instead on completing my second CD, “Frozen Angels”, and writing a few poems a week as I typically tend to do.

Who is John Sibley Williams and why is he so lucky to have such a fabulous poem written to him?
Thanks again for your kind words.  You just published one of John Sibley Williams’s poems the other day.  He is a good friend and (along with Shawn Austin), a co-founder of the Inflectionist poetry movement (  Needless to say, John’s aesthetic and mine are very close.  In my opinion, his work is wonderful, insightful, unexpected and downright staggering.  For this poem, I decided to use some of his tropes, turns of phrase – to construct the poem in a way he might construct it – while still keeping it my poem.
as I stand on the crest of the bridge
the two sides become wings
that let me leap
right from this moment
into a fairly tale
oh how the water runs
as if nothing mattered
now I can fly like that
with careless self-confidence
knowing there is more of me
where this came from
but if I reach the ocean
how will I know it’s not just my tear

The Last Gift

I last saw my mother
five years ago
at the airport
a receding figure
there…there…gone…reemerging for a second…
in darkness
in silence
we can establish
if it is all worth it
if the past is worth the future
and vice versa
it’s easy to imagine
myself in her place
I cooked her a meal one morning
fried bologna and potatoes
she used to make me when I
was a child
and now
with mortality in mind
I replayed the gesture
each time we make a choice
we are closer to the moment
when we have no choices left
years receding
summers disappearing
without a trace
the only place
she lives
the only gift
I can give her

Slightly a Tear
a lake as clear
as so many ancient tears
or a blue eye
reflecting the sky
and if I drown, hypnotized
by its unblinking gaze
maybe I will be
slightly a tear
a hint of a meaning
a sideways glance
a passageway
between two times

To John Sibley Williams
is there a land
where our land might end
if we didn't acknowledge
the ocean?
is there a word
when we cease to speak
if we don't take silence
for an answer?
we went in search
of another horizon
not so curvy
more reliable
we boarded a ship
but after years of sea sickness
we knew
there was no sea
no ship