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Goethe Institute Interview 2/2

This is a slightly truncated version of the interview I did with Romanian poet, Iowa alumnus, journalist and publisher Andra Rotaru about writerly attraction and literary crushes. Part one is all over this page here.


ANDRA ROTARU (AR): What are the literary and artistic tendencies that you are attracted to?

TSS: I think of poetry and art in general as a part of a continuum of image-making. I’m also a visual artist and designer, I studied painting at Art School and worked for a long time as a graphic designer. Image making for me has to do with framing, perspective and scale.

I’m curious about work that makes me ask why the maker made certain decisions. I tend to approach this work with questions; where am I the viewer/reader? What is happening outside the frame? How do I connect with this image (emotionally, intellectually, through humour)? What is the resonance with my own (and everyone’s) vast back-catalogue of visual experience?

I’m strongly attracted to work (of any genre) that is filmic, with a sense of urgency or loss as thematic concerns and an investigation of nature and the lyrical self in terms of poetics. I like to think poems are reflections of a truth, but only in that one moment. I don’t believe poetry is about making sweeping statements about life, or working out complex intellectual theories (leave that to philosophers), I see it rather as making small and hopefully astute observations about what is unfolding in front of me right now. I also love word play and slapstick humour, so comedy is also something I greatly appreciate. Life can’t all be beer & skittles, but we definitely need more laughter in the face of the current political developments sweeping Europe generally and Germany in particular.