KOO: Did that get you off the science track?
LASK Y: It got me off a lot of different tracks! I started to see myself more
as a poet. I didn’t intend to go to an MFA program right after college
because I really wanted to be a psychologist. At that point I knew I wasn’t
going to go to medical school, but I thought I could be a psychologist.
But I went to an MFA program because I just couldn’t help it.
KOO: Who were your first workshop teachers at Washington University?
LASK Y: I took a workshop with a graduate student, and Carl Phillips. His
class was called “Poet as Critic,” so you had to write pieces of criticism
along with poetry. And I took Irish poetry. I didn’t major in English, but
I took a lot of poetry classes.
KOO: So that first year, you said, you exploded. Did you continue to write
a lot of poems every year?
LASK Y: All the time, every class. Then I went to MFA school right after,
and—even more. It’s all I would do: write poems constantly.
KOO: Did you choose the UMass-Amherst program for any reason?
LASKY: Well, I’d never moved from Missouri my entire life, so that in
itself was exciting. The teachers at that point were James Tate and Dara
Wier, and I felt attracted to them.
KOO: Did you have already a conscious sense that you were interested in
surrealism as a style or an aesthetic outlook?
LASK Y: Not really. There were some choices that my teachers made that
I felt kinship toward. And it was only in that program that I came to
realize what American Surrealism was; a lot of people in the program
were interested in that. I had always liked it, but that wasn’t the deepest
connection I had.