Toby Barlow has converted many with Sharp Teeth, his "werewolf" novel in poem form, published in January. It's been getting great reviews and I can report happily that, despite not being fond of either werewolves or long poems, the result is not only delightful but exciting, intense, oddly tender, and complex. To get more insight into Barlow's book, I interviewed him via email. (I have already received a special pardon from the International Council of Real Poets for my questions...)
There once was a man from Detroit
Who found he was quite adroit
At writing with poetical pen
About territorial wolf men.
"What? No vampires or witches,
Ghosts, ghouls, or liches?"
I asked with a fanged and carious smile.
His reply? "Wolves haven't been done for awhile."
Seems like every era has its beasts,
Reagan's unnatural youth
and that dark 80's culture of cocaine
gave birth to the Orlean's vampires of Anne Rice.
But here in this new century,
as we begin seeing things heading south
and as the seams in our civilization
become slowly unstitched,
the vibe is getting a little more feral, a little wild,
and people are starting to look 'round for the pack
they can curl up
and keep warm with.
These seem like they're werewolf days.
the dark chill howl
a shadow in the trees
I was mulling over writing a love story when
I came across an article about a dogcatcher
which then reminded me of a pack of dogs I once saw in L.A.
So I made it a love story about animals
of a kind
'cause after all, that's what we are.
We like to kid ourselves
that we're more interested in the Platonic ideals
than a plate of steak
but really, that ain't the case.
We're animals, through and through.
I hadn't been thinking about it for years
it just sort of came to me.
Though once I started
dogs had been nipping at my heels
for most of my life.