rob mclennan: Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?- from Jacob's 12 or 20 questions on rob's blog. Read the whole thing here.
Jacob Scheier: Sure. The questions more often reveal themselves as I'm writing. I've been thinking a lot about making poetry politically progressive and how accessibility needs to a part of that. I think it's ironic that some poetry that claims to be rather radical often is fairly inaccessible to those who don't have a higher education, which begs the question radical for whom? On the other hand, there is also quite a lot of overtly political poetry I don't care for because it's lacking a certain artistic depth and emotional poignancy. I don't claim to be writing in the proper middle ground, only that the issue concerns me. I am also really interested in the convergence of the historical, theoretical and personal. For instance, I am researching and writing a lot right now about my grandparents and my parents, who were all communists (my father is the only one still alive) - how their worldview and the historical conditions of the 20th century interacted with the most personal, the most visceral and traumatic moments of their lives.
rm: What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
JS: I ask myself that a lot. This probably seems like the easy way out of the question, but different writers, particularly writers of different genres, probably have different roles. I think the role of a lot of poets is to give people pause, recall that we are alive now, and for lack of a better word acknowledge that it's all pretty weird. A poem has as much purpose, since it can be very similar, as those rare, truly honest moments between two people (whether silent or in conversation). I don't know why it's important that such moments occur now and again, but it makes me feel better about being alive when they do.