Joey De Jesus speaks with D. A. Powell about the latter's newest collection, Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys, as well as the power of sentences, the poet's (sometimes secret) allusions to pop culture, and what's wrong with villanelles. It is no surprise that Powell's comments are as witty and poignant as his poems.
Part of, I think, the reason why the landscape is eroticized for me is because if it's erotic, people will care for it. They will love it. They will desire it. And hopefully preserve it. If I were to make it look just the way it really looks in life, I think people would say, well, so much the better if we just plough all that under. They don't realize that, you know, in the drainage ditches, in the margins, there are real lives there. There's some beauty and drama. And to just, you know, sort of put a freeway through it and say, well, it's all the same, it's ugly. So I’m trying to make everything beautiful including the freeway, which is really hard. "Clover Leaf" is the best I could come up with and I guess it’s the best that the freeway people could come up with, too.