OBJECTS OF DERISION
AN INTERVIEW WITH FISAYO ADEYEYE
NGQ: If you were a character in a poem, how might you introduce yourself?
these days he’s blackout / a gap in the narrative / the pre-party, /
before blush. two finger pull / & clementine peeled spiral /
the stomach into pillow / touching his teeth, then crashing / into the bedframe /
he likes his love to feel like this /
NGQ: You have a full length poetry collection forthcoming this year from Nomadic Press called “Cradles”. Can you tell me a little about the initial inspiration for the collection?
ADEYEYE: The collection was mostly inspired by feelings of hunger, the idea of it / the physicality of it / the all encompassing almost spiritual way it drives and consumes. The things that people cling to as objects and places that make them feel safe / trying to interrogate that need to cling / trying to interrogate the places that make people feel safe and why and how and what’s true in that feeling and what’s false in that. I was interested in exploring this and other questions through myth and stories and the body. Most of the poems I wrote for the collection I didn’t write thinking that they would become part of anything, but noticed that a lot of these themes and images were connecting with other pieces of work, and I felt like there was a kind of conversation happening maybe.
NGQ: And is there a particular favourite line or lines from this collection that you still feel drawn to?
“How do we explain our wrists? / Our unfeathered faces? How do we talk / about ourselves?”
“Do you still believe / a wound is the only proof you will ever need?”
NGQ: Why do you think these lines have such a hold over you?
ADEYEYE: These lines I feel most drawn to because I’m interested and invested in them as questions I’m currently still seeking the answers to. How do we explain and negotiate our agency with people that refuse to recognize us / How do we explain pain to the very people who are hurting us and is this worthwhile and does this help?
NGQ: You are the co-curator of the VelRo Graduate Reading series in San Francisco; can you tell me a bit about the work you do there?
ADEYEYE: As co-curator of the VelRo Graduate Reading Series (which I curate with the wonderful Gavin Townsley and Lara Coley, two amazing writers and people), I help organize a weekly reading featuring two writers from the SFSU MFA program or Bay Area community, and open mic slots featuring students and community. The reading series is so much of fun. There is a lot of talent and important work being done here and a lot of support in and around the community that makes it feel particularly important to me right now.
NGQ: What gets your writer-brain ticking when you need an extra boost of help? Who are your great influences, those you turn to in your hour of need?
ADEYEYE: I read a lot, and I think that helps me when I feel particularly uninspired. And of course various movies, music, art also help get the process going for me as well. I feel pretty attached to Ada Limon / Cathy Park Hong / Eduardo C. Corral / Kristin Chang / Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib and as for non writing influences: petting dogs, sleeping, eating, dreaming, dreaming.
NGQ:We especially approve of petting dogs.
NGQ: And finally, can you tell me who you’re reading of late?
ADEYEYE: As of right now I’m reading a lot of fiction. Some books I’m getting into (or have on my list to start getting into) are The Vegetarian by Han Kang / We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge / The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma / & Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.