Yemassee Interview: 5 Questions with John Gosslee

John Gosslee's "Animals, a Body and a God of Some Type" appeared in Issue 23.2.

1. How would you describe your journey as a poet?

In any art, there’s a mix of tedium, devotion, and insight. Without those things revolving around a real passion, the work’s voice will always suffer. The journey is accepting the fact that it’s not just about inspiration and positive feelings, it’s often about grinding. Not everything is joy, but it can become joy over time.

2. What kind of poems/poets are you most drawn to?

I like work that illustrates strong craft and a unique voice. A clear sentence is like a clear song is like clear water. Robert Peake, Dorothea Lasky and Ashley M. Jones all have a wide range of approach and their own styles, filtered through our contemporary life.

3. Has there been a particular something (idea/image/phrase/quote/obsession) knocking around in your head lately?


4. Can you talk about your poem “Animals, a Body and a God of Some Type” and how it came to be?

The poem was cannibalized from the best parts of poems that didn’t flesh out, then mixed with some acute natural violence, risk, personal injury, mystical observation and the fact a couple of realizations that happened when I tried to understand what the poem really needed to live and where my place was in it.  

5. If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow poets, what would it be?

If you’re serious about doing anything, it’s important to realize that there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of other people, working in the exact same field, with the same goals and desires for their work. Are you truly giving your work everything that it needs to get it where you want it to be?

John Gosslee edits PANK, Fjords Review, and directs C&R Press. His favorite magazines at the moment are Prelude, Zymbol, and NOUS.