Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bhanu Kapil interviewed by Lisa Birman

Check out this interview of Bhanu Kapil at Trickhouse.

Lisa Birman: ...In Ars Poetica in 2007, you said, “… if poetry is written in a third space, some place less obvious than the colours blue or red, then where is that space?” You do posit that space, in Ars Poetics, but now is a different time and space. So, where is that space?

Bhanu Kapil: It’s the darkest space possible. I wait until the garden has gone dark, for example, before throwing a book into it, and sometimes, the whole day passes without writing or thinking but with the intense longing to do those things. When I was a child, for example, I forced my parents, and the Manders, the elderly couple whose car it was – we were all squashed in on a drive around Lake Coniston – to pull over next to a cobblestone bridge. Mrs. Manders had already pointed it out as the bridge Wordsworth sat beneath to write poems. I was thirteen or fourteen, and clearly, already, unmarriageable, as I demanded that they stop the car and let me out. As I recall, they waited in the car as darkness and a light rain fell, while I sat, knees up, hunched, under that bridge, writing a poem. But it wasn’t a poem. I was writing nonsense. I was making what I would now call notes. Curved space, rural space, British space. But what triples a space? What makes a space trans-generational, so that it triplicates the problem, just as sexual and relational dysfunction are the particulate trace of a disjunctive event far preceding them? A cube of dark space, bounded by Plexiglas…ideally, I’d write my first sentence in that room. The darkness, as I think of it now, is Pakistan. Because the third space, like Heidegger’s borderline, can’t be brought into language unless it’s after the fact. And so, I want that to open up when someone opens the book I haven’t written yet…the immensity and ephemerality of border space. I want to trans-sect it, enter it, lie down in it, at the same instant that language does. Building that vibration has meant preventing language from coming. It’s meant that 80 per cent of my time, at least for this current project, has been spent on site-specific concerns, you could say. I go to India, for example, to scrape the darkness into a jar. Darkness, and a kind of blazing white fog.