1) How would you describe your poetry?
Hard to say since the form’s always changing—quickly in mind, slowly on paper—but in general so far it’s been a poetry of place: Philadelphia, how bodies move through it and what they say. There’s a lot of found/overheard language I try to respond to and hear myself through a mess of, toward some truth. I’ve described my poems before as “motion machines,” like songs you can step into and go for a ride if you want, but that’s not always the case anymore.
2) How does poetry fit into your everyday life?
It’s always on my mind, and I read some every day.
3) What poets and/or authors inspire you?
Most immediately those I meet up with most often: Frank Sherlock, Steve Dolph, Stan Mir, Ian Davisson, Carlos Soto Román, CAConrad. Many in Philadelphia. Many others from a distance, alive and dead. Lately an old standby is Ted Berrigan.
4) How does the community of Philadelphia play a part in your poetry?
Of the many communities in Philadelphia, there’s a poetry one that plays a large part because I’m reading and hearing their work a lot. There’s also my neighbors, past and present, students, all kinds of friends—anyone I’ve ever really listened to moves through me and into the poetry. And sometimes it’s just the sounds of the machinery making me go.
5) What is the last book you have read that you enjoyed? Tell our Big Blue Marble community a little about it.
Well, I just read a bunch all at once over the last month, and it was a great experience. These are all sort of swirling together:
Clearview/Lie by Ted Greenwald
Times Square Red, Times Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany
Mercury by Ariana Reines
“neither wit nor gold” (from then) by Ammiel Alcalay
Hughson’s Tavern by Fred Moten
Where Art Belongs by Chris Kraus
Humiliation by Wayne Koestenbaum
Ventrakl by Christian Hawkey
Scared Text by Eric Baus
Any combination of those’ll work for you, I bet, if you want meaningful criticism of this country we live in, and to see better, if not feel, and serious beauty.
Ryan Eckes was born in Philadelphia in 1979. He's the author of Old News (Furniture Press 2011) and when i come here (Plan B Press 2007). More of his poetry can be found on his blog and in various magazines.
Ryan Eckes and Quincy Scott Jones will be reading this Saturday, February 18th at 5:00pm. Please come check them out!