Alli Warren Interviewed for LARB

Alli Warren Interviewed for LARB

Los Angeles Review of Books recently published, "On Longing, Listening and Levity: Lauren Levin Interviews Alli Warren", the second half of a two-part conversation between Alli Warren, author of I Love it Though and Lauren Levin. The first part can be found here. Read an excerpt from the interview below:

Warren never assumes she knows, never stops building her mental picture. And that curiosity — a permeable mind and body meeting the world — makes for work that’s exemplary in its combination of lush, sensuous embodiment with sharp critique of material conditions. Her work is wise. It creates worlds that are telling, funny, three-dimensional, and sad. It evolves in the reading. And so these poems don’t just have an ethics and a politics: they are an ethics and a politics, deeply felt, but always changing.-- Lauren Levin in introduction to her conversation with Alli Warren 

LAUREN LEVIN: I came across the line “as desire can never perish” and thought about the role of desire in your work. (Like that classic line, “lust before dishonor” in Here Come the Warm Jets.) I imagine you’re relating desire to collective world-flourishing: “I move among loves / as aims that animate.” What links desire to the revolutionary in your imagination? How does this desire relate to consumerist desire (I think of your poem “Protect Me From What I Want,” which takes its name from the Jenny Holzer piece)? Does desire cut both ways? Or is there a difference between “desire” and “what I want”?

ALLI WARREN: I often write in order to figure out what I think and feel, rather than to deliver some didactic or ideological message deliberated upon in advance, so I’m not sure I could name what desire is other than how it emerges in my poems and lived life. Desire for me is a formless, ceaseless, instinctual urge. I think of desire as counter to law and institutions, and for this reason it is a beacon. In that propulsive excess I find a wellspring of energy I can look to for sustenance and inspiration. It courses, sumptuous. And it’s not exclusively sexual or other-directed. It’s also, for example, that sensual feeling of warming a wet body in the sun.

Read the full conversation here