The Toronto Quarterly: In Little Empires many of the poems allude to a fragmenting society whereby social media tends to drown out the present tense. Do you feel that the human psyche is in need of a counterbalance in order to enrich itself or is this fragmentation permanent and growing?
Robert Colman: I was writing this collection during the most recent recession, when more was being demanded of everyone at their jobs, and fewer resources were on hand to deliver what was demanded. The nature of business communications today, however, means that it is difficult to escape that work cycle. I don’t think, as a society, we are all going to throw away our smartphones and liberate ourselves from this enslavement, but I do think everyone has to find a way to counterbalance the flood of information with which we are constantly inundated. It is hard to just step outside and go for a solitary walk, or turn off everything and concentrate solely on the page in front of you. But it’s part of the discipline of caring for oneself. And it is a discipline. When I am off the grid for a few hours, I end up in a very different headspace. For me, that is a very calming transition. Of course, I say that, and it’s 8 pm and I’m typing the answers to these questions on my computer. Epic fail today, I’m afraid.
- Robert Colman, in interview with The Toronto Quarterly. You can read the whole thing here.