This is an actual interview, in its entirety, that may help explain the mind of the man whose prolific prose stars in Songs From the Beautiful Rebellion. And, I assure you, the only edits made are those made in an attempt to protect the “innocent” (until proven guilty).
Who is Dogbelly? And Other Probing Questions Hurled at Ed
The following is an interview with Ed, a published writer and artist by night and an ID at [company] during the day.
Tom: So you have been writing for some time. And I hear you have a character called Dogbelly that appears in many of your poems. Who is this Dogbelly fellow? What’s he up to? Where did he come from?
Ed: Dogbelly is a burnt-out rhythm guitarist for a retro Texas swing band. He’s the surrealist spawn of a tattered copy of Oedipus Rex and a Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys record. Recently he sent me a postcard with his inalienable rights: “strife, lechery, and the pursuit of loneliness.”
Tom: Does Dogbelly ever make public appearances? Is he received well?
Ed: Dogbelly can mostly be seen panhandling on streetcorners, though occasionally he’ll stumble onto a stage. He feels mostly misunderstood, which comforts him.
Tom: Are there other themes you are pursuing in your poetry?
Ed: Themes pursue me.
Tom: So what journals have you recently been published in?
Ed: Tom’s lovely [magazine title], a whole boatload of Dogbelly poems forthcoming in Pemmican.
Tom: Tell me about your artwork on the back of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics (see cover below). How did that happen? What’s the painting based on?
Ed: The painting is from a series on Odysseus, inspired by Nikos Kazantzakis’ retelling of the Odyssey. It’s based on pure irascibility.
Tom: What other painting activities are you involved in?
Ed: Right now I’m working on a series of primitive abstractions to see where they’ll lead me.
Tom: Any exciting leads or forthcoming publications in journals? Books?
Ed: An essay on the poet John Yau and the painter Jasper Johns will appear in Word & Image soon, plus a bunch of poems in various journals. I’m still trying to publish my study of the deep image poet Robert Kelly, which has led rather an underground existence for nearly a decade.
Tom: Who are your favorite poets and books?
Ed: Hmmm. Lots to choose from. Anything by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, but the Duino Elegies in particular. The poems of Francis Ponge. Detective novels by Delacorta and the work of Jim Harrison. At the moment, I’m recalling a beautiful book by Gustaf Sobin called The Fly-Truffler, which is all about death, obsessive love and truffle-hunting.
The drawing of the man the back cover is by Ed, and it appears on the current issue of [magazine title], which also features work from [another employee], and is co-edited by Tom. The issue will soon be available in [bookstore] in [town] and other stores in the area. [for a larger version of this beautiful image, click here.]
Ed works as an Instructional Designer at [company]. For years, he scraped out an existence at the margins of English departments, where he scribbled scholarly essays and poems. He tends to annoy his family by fingerpicking either the guitar or the dulcimer at inopportune moments. He generally tends to hide his honky-tonk soul, though occasionally his evil twin brother can be seen caterwaulin’ and stompin’ around like a tornado in a trailer park.