John Korn Interview

John Korn is the author of Television Farm.

SK: Please tell me about I took some down with miss handsome. Where were you then? Where now?

John Korn: It starts with a feeling I guess, sadness with happy playfulness induced by memories, laughing about it, then I just started imagining this surreal universe that would illustrate the feelings. I think a lot of what I was writing then starts with a feeling that is hanging on me and then I start to imagine concrete things to illustrate it. Like if you just write you are happy, maybe that doesn't resonate, but if you can create a world that projects happiness or sadness then you have something that will let you into the strangeness or beauty of that feeling, and it hopefully will also induce thought. I mean this is what I was trying to do, and I'm not going to say if I succeeded or not. I like the process of exploring and creating it. I like junk and at the time worked with second hand junk and envisioned a sort of strange landscape with orange, red, yellowish lighting. Then I added characters that just kind of get conjured up, don't know how it happens. Miss Handsome just arrived there and I started talking like her to myself and then added her commentary. Then I liked the idea of god fucking his own creation. Not being able to control himself. Honestly, I think a lot of sketch comedy influenced that. Monty Python, Kids In The Hall. Where am I now from it? I don't know. I haven't wrote a long narrative surreal poem like that in awhile. It's something I would love to try again. I can't do it on command. You have to be writing a lot to get there. And I have not been writing as much as I was then. But fragments of stories happen like that in my head often. But they are too long for a single poem and are hard to write. I don't know where I will go, but I think you get the idea of where I would like to. To do something that is surreal, narrative, but longer. But right now I am just working on one poem at a time. Mostly snapshots of my life and things I see. That feels right at the moment.

SK: How much did you rewrite “miss handsome?”

John Korn: I wrote that awhile ago, hombre. I was still a slacker cashier. If I recall correctly I didn't rewrite it at all. It pretty much came out like that fairly quick. One night I was working in the second hand store and started amusing myself by writing it in my head because I was bored. When I got home I wrote it out. Like I said it's been awhile. But I do recall that maybe while recording it I improvised more into it while reading it on the spot and later added it into the written version.

SK: How much do you rewrite?

John Korn: It depends on the poem I guess. But mostly I edit as I go along. So, I will write a few lines and I will re-read it and if I feel I need to rewrite I will do so before proceeding. I make edits after I get to the end. Sometimes I will rearrange the order. But very rarely will I put something aside and come back and rewrite it over and over, though I have. There are always spelling errors that I never catch so in that sense I have to rewrite much.

SK: Does meaning influence you line by line or as connected thoughts before the process?

John Korn: Hmmmm. It really depends on the poem, what state I'm in. Both. None. Most times there is a small half formed idea, and as I start writing it is like a conversation and then something starts to form. I don't think I plan much before the process.

SK: Has social work brought your writing any street or jesus?

John Korn: None. I mean, I don't know. I only wrote a few poems about work so far. Working this job (with people suffering from mental illness) you meet a lot of people who have been through great discrimination and have no one and everyone thinks they are worthless so you really have to be compassionate to try and assist them. It can be inspiring to see some of them overcome it and get jobs and have a social life regardless, and heart breaking to see them drown in it. Also annoying to see them exploit it. There is a lot more responsibility involved than say when I was a slacker clerk and it changes you. I still am prone to slack but you see the consequences of it more clearly. Your daily interactions with people cover a wide spectrum of topics and can get pretty involved, both humorous and saddening and, since it is with people suffering from mental illnesses, strange. Very strange. It certainly can drag you down and make you not want to go out afterward because socially you are drained as fuck. The job also gives you a more fucked up sense of humor and in other regards gave me less social awkwardness because after you talk to a schizophrenic going through some heavy shit, other fun social interactions suddenly are not so intimidating. You really look at the world differently. So many things and I'm sure this will all come out in poems.

SK: What are you reading?

John Korn: Finished The Colorado Kid by Stephen King. Now reading Ron Androla, Daryl Rogers, Anne Sexton, some e.e. cummings, articles on the bp oil shit, Roger Ebert articles. Would like to read Neruda and some more detective novels.

SK: What reading sparked your way?

John Korn: Listening to Nick Cave, Tom Waits, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Beck. Reading Ron Androla, Stephen Dobyns, Albert Huffstickler, T. S. Elliot, Anne Sexton, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Philip K. Dick, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Mike Boyle, Daryl Rogers, Harper Lee, S.E. Hinton, Didi Menendez, etc.

SK: Do you have any manuscripts ready?

John Korn: No! Sadly. Though I have never stopped writing poetry there was a long break and slowly working back into it. Very rusty. I have a few in my head. They have been there awhile and still excite me so I feel they will come out when ready. I'm interested in doing a series of poems that would tell a sort of non-linear story all together. I hope sooner than later. I'm lazy and get distracted and have to wait for the right artsy art shit inspiration while at the same time writing other things until it gets there.

SK: You do an amazing Elvis.(Note: half-way down.) Did you practice for “Elvis and Me?”

John Korn: No. I don't think. Been awhile. Well, I did record it over and over. I felt the impression was a little too fast. He was fat in the poem, so I wish i would have made him a little more sluggish in speech. But thank you. I feel like listening to "Polk Salad Annie" now.

SK: Do you play the harp?

John Korn: With you in fantasies.



Blogger Unknown said...

Here is the link to John reading Misses Handsome:


Blogger Sean Kilpatrick said...

Thanks Didi, worked the link into it.

Blogger DH said...

John Korn is a terrible human being.


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