Tuesday, June 5, 2007

When Greatness Calls...

You jump, obviously. Prof. Sonia Sanchez herself dialed my digits last night and I almost crashed my car trying to answer my cell. After successfully answering and pulling over, I got the word that we had unfinished business. I started an interview with Ms. Sonia in December and have yet to complete it. All kinds of "life" things got in the way and we (we here meaning I) have been stutter-stepping ever since.

Ms. Sonia is so loving and gracious. She has given me space and time and now, a swift kick in the pants. So, we will wrap up this interview on Thursday and sent it off to the editors soon after. I've been working on a number of interviews with Black writers (poets, specifically, to-date) and am trying to put a collection together within the next two years. I'm wrapping up Ms. Sonia and wrapped up the illustrious Lucille Clifton last month. Interviews are hard work, though, and they take away from my other writing time. I definitely stalled out while I was working on the book and now I'm trying to jump start all of my projects again.

Interviews are a great way to help you start thinking about craft. Ethelbert taught me that when I was at Bennington; he made me conduct my first interview with my mentor, Tim Seibles. I make it a point to only interview people whose work I admire, so I get a lot of insight by probing about their process(es). There are so many writers I would love or would have loved to interview. Here's my dream list:

James Baldwin
Toni Morrison
Langston Hughes
Jessie Faucet
August Wilson
Mildred D. Taylor
Walter Dean Myers
Rosa Guy
Gwendolyn Brooks

Is anybody else doing interviews out there or does anyone know of places publishing insightful interviews?