acknowledge that it's all pretty weird

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?

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.
- from Jacob's 12 or 20 questions on rob's blog. Read the whole thing here.

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