Danny Snelson is a writer, editor, and archivist. He is the author of Radios (Make Now Press, 2016), EXE TXT (Gauss PDF, 2015), Epic Lyric Poem (Troll Thread, 2015), and Inventory Arousal with James Hoff (Bedford Press/Architectural Association, 2011). His editorial work can be found online at UbuWeb, PennSound, Eclipse, and Jacket2. With Mashinka Firunts and Avi Alpert, he is one-third of the academic performance group Research Service. He is currently at work on a memoir entitled Apocalypse Diary. See also: http://dss-edit.com
1 - How did your first book or chapbook change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
My first “book” was a hacked blogspot called My Dear coUntess (2007), which, in its production dramatically revised my sense of what could be done with contemporary formats and poetic form at the intersection of creative thought. In many ways, I’ve been working backward since, toward the realization of this first work, operating among elements of choice, process, performance, and history. Recent works have gone about this task by rearticulating lost histories, performing database queries, and structuring chaotic information. Every project is different.
2 - How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
I came to poetry as a scanner. Getting paid as a federal work study student in my freshman year of college, I was lucky enough to begin generating images for Craig Dworkin’s Eclipse. I recall scanning pages of Lucy & Jimmy’s House of “K”—which were, at the time, entirely indecipherable to me—as a real inspiration to continue the study (and production) of poetry.
3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
Inspiration often comes unexpectedly. The writing of any project usually takes a few years, with many projects working simultaneously. The performance of writing typically dictates that the work progresses according to a set of rules until it is complete, with no revision to previous revisions of the input material. This is not always, or ever, entirely the case.
4 - Where does a poem or work of prose usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?
All my poetic production begins with research questions that can’t be answered otherwise.
5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?
The poetry reading is a genre of performance quite distinct from the arts of publication, transmission, and dispersion. Unless those arts are scripted into the reading itself. I often write “works” exclusively for the poetry reading, and likewise generate texts based on reading performances.
So many. Variant queries. Questions always include the politics of race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, nationality and other coordinates of human life in a horrific global present.
7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
The writer creates new ways of making meaning. Most writers, like myself, are also educators. The writer has a pedagogical role to introduce critical and creative thinking that can operate in the present and continue to shape the future.
8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?
Rarely have I had the pleasures of this difficulty formalized. When editing, alone or in groups, I have found manifold difficulties alongside the essential characteristics of the writerly activity.
9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?
Togh mi bartsi vra tseranak.
10 - How easy has it been for you to move between genres (poetry to critical prose)? What do you see as the appeal?
Genres have different strengths and weaknesses. There are things one might do in a live performance that are impossible on the page or the screen. Similarly, one might embed values impossible to address in a linear format like prose or speech when working in expanded media. Many important questions cannot be asked in an isolated genre. My favorite works move between many genres, including performance, cinema, poetry, essay, mixtape, publication, installation, and so forth.
11 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?
12 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?
The source text, then secondary literature, and finally my own notes.
13 - What fragrance reminds you of home?
“The Great Salt Lake Effect.”
14 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?
15 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?
http://eclipsearchive.org : http://writing.pennsound.edu : http://ubu.com http://monoskop.org/ : http://p-dpa.net : http://trollthread.tumblr.com http://gauss-pdf.com : http://hystericallyreal.com : http://jstor.org http://muse.jhu.edu : http://jacket2.org : http://aaaaarg.fail/
20 - What are you currently working on?
A memoir called Apocalypse Diary, which takes as its premise the realization of every prediction I can find about the end of the world from my birth in 1984 until the present. Every end of the world scenario is entertained, as though they all truly happened: untold asteroids, floods, fires, aliens, and religious events, among manifold catastrophic conclusions to the planet. Among these speculative facts, I’m writing my own remembrances, within and against a wide range of sources, voices, and anticipations for a doomed future.