”Spit” An Interview with Daniel Lassell
Daniel Lassell is the author of Spit (Wheelbarrow Books / Michigan State University Press, 2021), winner of the 2020 Wheelbarrow Books Emerging Poetry Prize selected by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, and winner of the 2021-22 Reader Views Gold Award for Poetry and the Inside Scoop Live Award for the Most Innovative Poetry Book. He is also the author of a chapbook, Ad Spot (Ethel Zine and Micro Press, 2021), and his poems have appeared in the Colorado Review, Cherry Tree, and Prairie Schooner, among others. He grew up in Kentucky, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
To learn more about Daniel Lassell and his work, visit his website at http://www.daniel-lassell.com/
TOPICS OF CONVERSATION
he first-ever poetry book set on a llama farm, Daniel Lassell’s debut collection, Spit, examines the roles we play in the act of belonging. It is a portrait of a boy living on a farm populated with chickens sung to sleep by lullaby, captive wolves next door that attack a child, and a herd of llamas learning to survive despite coyotes and a chaotic family. The collection in part explores the role of the body in health and illness and one’s treatment of the earth and others. A theme of spirituality also weaves throughout the collection as the speaker treks into adulthood, yearning for peace amid the decline of his parents’ marriage. Driven by a “wish to visit / some landless landscape,” the speaker eventually leaves his family’s farm, only to find that return is impossible. After losing the farm and the llama herd to his parents’ divorce, the speaker wrestles with the role of presence as it relates to healing, remarking, “I wish enough, / to have only // these memories I have.” Unflinching at every turn, the collection pushes the boundaries of “home” to arrive upon new meaning, definition, and purpose.
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