13- Sophie Robinson & Samuel Solomon


Image credit: Christa Holka

Sophie Robinson is a poet. She lives between London and Norwich, where she teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her new book Rabbit is out now from Boiler House Press. Rabbit was a Poetry Book Society recommendation for Winter 2018 and has been named a poetry book of the year by The Sunday Times.

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Samuel Solomon is Senior Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing and Co-director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence at the University of Sussex. He is the author of Special Subcommittee (2017) and Lyric Pedagogy and Marxist-Feminism: Social Reproduction and the Institutions of Poetry (forthcoming 2019), and he is co-translator from the Yiddish of The Acrobat: Selected Poems of Celia Dropkin (2014). He is a founding member of the Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK research group and co-organizes the annual Sussex Poetry Festival

Entropics asks Sam Solomon:

What do you suggest people might read or hear in advance of hearing you?

Here’s a poem, and some thoughts about the poem: https://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/own_words/Solomon/

Where can we find one critical (or other) response to your work that you have found provocative, interesting, insightful or generative?

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), some of my favorite responses to my work have been published in sources that are not available online – for example, you might check out Holly Pester’s brilliant review of my book in the equally brilliant Zarf #12 (edited by Callie Gardner): http://zarfpoetry.tumblr.com/post/178921006083/zarf-12-the-veronicaforrestthomson-issue-is

I also love this open letter (or what I can understand of it!) that the Netherlands/Belgium-based writer Frank Keizer wrote to me, although it’s not in English: https://www.rektoverso.be/artikel/beste-sam-solomon

 Point us towards some examples of work in other media (art/cinema/music etc) that inflect upon your work, in any way at all:

I searched through recent text exchanges to see what I’ve been obsessing over with interlocutors.  Much of it is related to the Star Trek universe (particularly Deep Space Nine). 

What readings or performances most shook you up, and why?

This is a tricky one – readings tend to blur together in my memory. But I know that the first time I saw Cathy Wagner read (I was about 20) it got under my skin. It was something about the way that she moved between, on the one hand, a sort of recitation of something intimately known, to, on the other hand, a speaking of her words as if they surprised her. But it was also of course about the ongoing surprise, for me, of the words themselves.

What writing (or whose writing) is exciting you now?

I recently read Jordy Rosenberg’s novel Confessions of the Fox and found it to be utterly thrilling –funny, smutty, and smart about the racializing and gendering transformations that accompanied the rise of capitalism (and the collective ways of being that sometimes exceed its grasp).

A handful of recent readings that continue to exercise me: Jackie Wang’s Carceral Capitalism, Ellie Belew’s history of electrical tradeswomen at Seattle City Light, Jay Bernard’s The Red and Yellow Nothing, Wendy Trevino’s Cruel Fiction.

What/who do you wish people read more of?

I don’t necessarily want other people to read more.

What do you wish you read more of yourself?

Since I teach and write about literature, I am always reading, but I’m rarely reading in a way that feels open and exploratory. I wish I had more time to read in an unstructured way. So at the moment, I wish that I was reading things without responsibility, just picking up everything and putting it down when I feel like it! But that wish is also a wish for a different world – and in the meantime, I want to read as much as I can to help make that world.

What is your writing for?  And what is it against?

My writing is for figuring out things that I want to change, with others. It is also for figuring out and naming my stubborn attachments to things that I don’t want to be attached to.

Ask yourself a question you’d like to answer. It could be one of these from the questionnaire in the last issue of The Little Review or anything else at all you think might be good.

Q: What do you consider your weakest characteristic?

A: Wanting (most) people to like me.