KOO: So talk about your new book, Thunderbird. What kind of continu-ities do you see between this book and your first two books, and in what
ways is it a departure?
LASKY: I see it as blending the styles from the first two books. It’s a
departure in that to me it’s the most thematic—and I love thinking of a
book as a thematic construction.
KOO: What do you think of as the theme? What’s behind “Thunderbird”
as a title?
LASK Y: It relates to the Native American thunderbird. A thunderbird in
Native American mythology is a Zeus-like figure that controls the skies.
Sylvia Plath says she should have loved a thunderbird instead of a person. This thunderbird, like a lot of Native American creatures, is a thing
that’s based in reality but can transfer between reality and the spiritual
world. And that’s what this thunderbird is: it’s the ultimate true-love self
of this “I” that has been growing throughout the books.
KOO: You write in “Death and Sylvia Plath” that you are pleased when
your student tells you that in “Lady Lazarus” Plath “turns from an object
/ Into an entertainer / And finally into a demon.” Do you see yourself
doing the same thing across your three books?
KOO: In “What poets should do,” you say, “Poets should get back to saying crazy shit.” What kind of crazy shit are you thinking of? Any literary
examples from the past?
LASKY: All the poets I love said crazy shit. Like Blake: he was just like,
I’m going to construct a whole world and you’re going to deal with it.
Yeats said crazy shit. There’s a poet, Samuel Greenberg—he said crazy
shit. It was really beautiful. Anything beautiful to me is crazy shit.
Hannah Weiner. Stevens. He’s one of my favorite poets.