Visit Daniel’s work with the National Poetry Month initiative, Pulitzer Remix, where he and 84 other poets from 7 different countries have posted a new poem each day in April created from text of a Pulitzer Prize winning fiction book.
VAH – Daniel, What books or authors keep you up at night because you can’t put them down?
DAS – The most recent book I read almost all the way through in one sitting was Brian Mihok’s The Quantum Manual of Style [http://www.aqueousbooks.com/author_pages/23_mihok.htm]. It’s a jarring book because it tricks you into thinking it’s funny but then turns heartbreaking. And then it goes back to being funny. I love its deadpan delivery, by the way. Sometimes it reads like a textbook, and then the bottom falls out, and you just keep asking yourself, “What is this guy going to do next that’s better than what he just did?” And then he does it.
VAH – And in a movie about your life and times, who would play you? What would the theme song be, and why?
DAS – I’ve actually written a couple of poems in which actors play me. Ethan Hawke plays the younger, more arrogant version of me. Woody Harrelson plays the more laid-back, present-day me. I picked those actors because I resemble them somewhat. The theme song for the movie would be Coleman Hawkins’ 1939 version of “Body and Soul” or Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five’s 1928 version of “West End Blues.” A key element of the movie would be my continual need to rank everything (especially music and films), and those two jazz tunes are probably the best ever.
VAH – What would your super power be and why that one?
DAS – I would have to go with time travel, if only to fix some of my mistakes. And to see the Velvet Underground in concert.
VAH – Are you a finish the book once you’ve started kind of reader or leave it for another if don’t like the book sort of reader?
DAS – I have left many books once I’ve decided I won’t like them. I don’t think it makes sense to tough it out just to finish a book. I go to the library a lot, and libraries make it easier to start a book and quit on it.
VAH – Tell us what little known fact about you will amaze and/or amuse?
DAS – I once edited a lingerie catalog. My wife tells me I know more about bras than she does. And, as she is with most other things, she’s right.
The final part to our visit with Daniel Shapiro comes at the end of the month. Until then, check out Dan’s poems with the Pulitzer Remix project or a Daniel Shapiro Sampling:
Archibald on an Empty Stomach published at Bacon Review